Working in Turkey

Economic strength
With countries in the European Union economically struggling, it might be interesting to look a bit further afield to find a job. There are countries within Europe and on its edges where the economy has been growing despite the global financial crisis. One of these rare countries is Turkey. There economy grew by 8% last year.

Although Turkey is not part of the European Union, it has a close trading links with Europe and large numbers of (formerly) Turkish citizens live in Europe. There are for instance, more than 2 million Turks living in Germany and other EU nations have equally large percentages of Turks within their borders. The country is situated partly in Europe and partly in the Middle East, forming a natural bridge between continents and cultures.

Turkey is a secular country where the vast majority of people are Muslim. Contrary to what is generally accepted in many European countries, headscarves are banned in schools, universities and government offices.

Work permits
The Turkish approach to issuing work permits is quite similar to that of the European Union. They’re similarly battling with large numbers of unemployed people, despite their economic growth, so they’re not that keen on issuing work permits to just anyone. The Turkish government have created a double application process where both the applicant and the prospective employer have to apply for a work permit within 10 days of each other. You also have to prove that the vacancy can not be filled by someone locally. (Just like in the EU.) Only companies registered in Turkey can file an application.

The Turkish government has also decreed that for a number of jobs only local people can be employed. The jobs for the locals are in:

•    Diving, maritime navigation, working on ships, extracting wreckage, exportation of fish, other sea creatures, sand and pebbles
•    Mining
•    Working as executive director in travel agencies
•    Professional occupations: medical doctor, nurse, midwife, dentist, vet, careers, pharmacist, optician, executive director in hospitals, judge, lawyer, prosecutor, security guard, notary.

Red tape
Red tape is notoriously slow in Turkey, but government has recently attempted to make the whole process faster. However, as a consequence, the application form has grown significantly in size and now includes questions about criminal charges, illnesses that “threaten” public health and substance abuse problems.

Required paperwork for a Turkish work permit
Work permits for Turkey are either granted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (within Turkish borders) or if abroad, through the Embassy/Consulate of the Turkish Republic.

Documents required:

  • Passport and copy
  • Completed Visa Application form
  • Proof of a job offer in the form of a letter from employer
  • Passport photographs
  • Visa fee + work permit document fee (varies depending on type of permit applied for)

Normal processing time of an application is about two months. The applicants are notified when they have been successful and they then have three months to get their passport stamped with the work permit at the Embassy/Consulate.




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