Turkey: New Work Permit Requirements and Application Process
Employers in Turkey are now subject to a new local worker quota system and minimum salary requirements for foreign employees, as well as a revised work permit application process that is expected to result in shorter processing times once technical delays are resolved.
Turkey has introduced new work permit requirements and application procedures for employers seeking to hire foreign workers. The new system is expected to streamline the work permit process generally, with shorter processing times and more flexibility regarding when forms must be filed, although the new process is currently subject to significant delays. The new system also features a provisional work permit that will allow foreign professionals to work while they complete diploma equivalency formalities.
New Work Permit Eligibility Requirements
Employers in Turkey are subject to new foreign worker quota requirements, under which they must employ at least five local workers for every foreign national worker. In addition, employers seeking to sponsor foreign workers must meet minimum gross sales of TL 800,000 or have at least TL 100,000 of paid-in capital on hand. There are also higher minimum salary levels for foreign workers, ranging from TL 1,407.50 to TL 4,943.25, depending on occupation. The minimum salary level range will be revised in January 2011.
Foreign nationals who are sponsored for work permits by a company in which they own shares must meet specified minimum investment requirements concerning both general and capital shares.
New Work Permit Application Process
The new work permit application system requires the Turkish Ministry of Labor to adjudicate work permit applications within 30 days of filing, down from the current requirement of 90 days. Employers now have 10 days to file domestic work permit applications online after a prospective foreign worker files his or her work visa application at a consular post abroad. Previously employers had to file the local paper applications within three days of the foreign worker’s visa application. Within six days of the online filing, employers must submit originals of any necessary supporting documentation to the Ministry of Labor.
Though the new system is eventually expected to shorten the application process, technical problems are currently causing significant delays in obtaining work permits. These technical problems are expected to be resolved by the end of the year.
Provisional Work Permits for Select Professionals
A new provisional work permit procedure for licensed professionals, such as engineers, may allow these foreign employees to work for up to one year while their foreign degree is being reviewed to determine whether it is equivalent to the relevant Turkish degree. These employees must engage in work activities that are within their licensed professions during the provisional period. In Turkey, completing this diploma equivalency process can often take up to twelve months to process.
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