In essence, Work Permit is a permit issued as an formal document by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (“Ministry”) and gives the foreigner the right to work and reside in Türkiye within its validity period. Foreigners’ ability to work in Turkey depends on obtaining a work permit. According to the International Labor Law No. 6735 (“Law”) the foreigner within the scope of this Law is required to obtain a work permit or work permit exemption before starting to work in Türkiye. Penal and administrative action will be taken against foreigners that working without a valid work permit or work permit exemption.

In this context, foreigners are basically obliged to obtain a work permit to work in Türkiye. However, Law has ruled that in some special cases, foreigners can work in Türkiye by being exempt from obtaining a work permit.

We will focus on foreigners who are exempt from obtaining a work permit in Türkiye within the scope of Law and to issue of work permit exemption.

Work permit exemption refers to the exemption issued as an official document by the Ministry, which gives the foreigner the right to work and reside in Türkiye without obtaining a work permit within the validity period. Within this framework, foreigners who are exempt from work permits can only work in Türkiye on the condition that they carry out the work and transactions stipulated in the Law in accordance with the procedures and principles stipulated in the Law.

The work and transactions of foreigners who are exempt from obtaining a work permit are are carried out in accordance with the International Labor Law No. 6735.

Foreigners Who Can Benefit from Work Permit Exemption:

Foreigners who can work in Turkey within the scope of a work permit are discussed in various articles of Law.

  1.  Foreigners Exempted from Work Permits by Bilateral or Multilateral Agreements to which Türkiye is a Party:

Article 2/3 of the Law states that “In the implementation of this Law, the provisions of bilateral or multilateral agreements and international agreements to which Türkiye is a party are reserved.” In accordance with this provision, if some foreigners are exempt from work permits through bilateral or multilateral agreements and international agreements, these people will not need to obtain a new permit to work in Türkiye.

2. Foreigners Exempted from Work Permit Due to International Economic Relations:

According to Article 13/7 of the Law, Board members of joint stock companies established in accordance with the Turkish Commercial Code who do not reside in Turkey and partners of other companies who do not have a managerial capacity, and cross-border service providers whose activities in Turkey do not exceed 90 (ninety) days within 180 (one hundred and eighty) days, are within the scope of work permit exemption.

  • Foreigners Exempt from Work Permit Due to Diplomatic Relations:

In accordance with Article 14 of the Law, another group of foreigners who are exempt from work permit due to diplomatic relations are diplomatic staff members, consular officers, administrative and technical staff members, and consular servants in the diplomatic and consular representations of foreign countries in Türkiye, people working in the special service of people working as international civil servants, administrative and technical personnel in international organizations in Türkiye.

  • Foreigners Who Are Exempt from Work Permit In Accordance with Article 48 “Exemptions” of the International Labor Law Implementation Regulation:
Related Article of Implementing Regulation  Who Can Apply?  Maximum Duration of Work Permit Exemption
 EDUCATION SECTOR AND INTERNSHIP 
  Article 48/jForeigners who come to universities or public institutions aiming to increase their knowledge and experience or to conduct research2 Years (Limited to Education Term)
  Article 48/nForeign students enrolled in a formal education program in Türkiye, who are required to do compulsory internship with an employer within the scope of vocational education  Compulsory Internship Term
   Article 48/fForeigners who will do internship within the scope of approved student exchange programs which was made between Turkish universities and universities in foreign countries and approved by Council of Higher Education (YÖK)    4 Months
    Article 48/iForeigners who will do internship within the scope of international student intern exchange, new graduate intern exchange or youth exchange programs (IAESTE, AIESEC and ERASMUS+) approved by the Directorate General of International Labour Force of Türkiye    12 Months
  Article 48/sForeigners who are accepted specialization training on Medicine or Dentistry (through TUS or DUS exams)Specialization Training Term
  Article 48/rForeign personnel, researchers or managers who will work within the Turkish-Japanese Science and Technology University      Employment Contract Term
 SPORTS SECTOR 
 Article 48/eForeigners who will work within the scope of sports activities (tournaments, Olympic games, winter games, etc.)  4 Months
    Article 48/kForeign professional athletes and coaches, sports physicians, sports physiotherapists, sports mechanics, sports masseurs or masseuses and similar sports personnel, who come to Türkiye with a sports visa (Provided that the Ministry of Youth and Sports or the Turkish Football Federation has the appropriate opinion)  Contract Term with Sports Federations and Sports Clubs
 TOURISM SECTOR 
Article 48/ıForeigners who will work as tour operator representatives  8 Months
  Article 48/ğ  Foreigners who will work in fairs and circuses that will operate outside the borders of certified tourism enterprises  6 Months
 AGRICULTURE AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY SECTOR 
  Article 48/gForeigners who will work in seasonal agriculture and animal husbandry jobs determined by the Directorate General of International Labour Force of Türkiye (except foreigners who are under Temporary Protection and International Protection in Türkiye)    6 Months
 OTHER TYPES OF APPLICATION 
     Article 48/bForeigners who will come for the purpose of training on the use of goods and services exported from or imported to Türkiye, providing training on the installation, maintenance and repair, and use of machinery and equipment imported to Türkiye, or receiving the equipment, to repair broken vehicles in Türkiye      3 Months
  Article 48/lForeign seafarers (seamen) who work on ships which have received a Certificate of Conformity Approval from the relevant administration and registered in the Turkish International Ship Registry and operating outside the cabotage line  Employment/Service Contract Term
   Article 48/pForeigners who will work in the military factories and shipyards operating under the Ministry of National Defense of Türkiye or Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Anonim Şirketi.  Employment/Service Contract Term
Article 48/aForeigners who will work within the scope of scientific, cultural and artistic activities1 Month
  Article 48/h    Foreigners who are notified by relevant public institutions and organizations that they can provide important services and contribution to Türkiye in economic, socio-cultural, technological field and educational        6 Months
  Article 48/mForeigners assigned to programs or projects carried out within the scope of Türkiye European Union Financial Cooperation Programs (IPA, Next Generation EU etc.)  Duty Term  
  Article 48/cCross-Border Service Providers (Foreign business visitors, contractual service providers, or independent professionals who are in Türkiye temporarily for the purpose of providing services)  3 Months
    Article 48/çForeigners who do not reside in Türkiye and are members of the board of directors of joint stock companies in Türkiye, or non-managing partners of other companies; and Foreigners who will work in Türkiye and are not partners in these companies but are authorized to represent and bind at the top- level    3 Months
  Article 48/dThose who will work in Türkiye and residing abroad and reported to be of Turkish origin by the Ministry of Interior of Türkiye, or Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye  3 Months
 AFFILIATED UNITS OF FOREIGN REPRESENTATIVES AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 
  Article 48/oForeigners working in schools, cultural institutions and religious institutions operating as affiliated units of diplomatic and consular representations of foreign countries in Türkiye  Duty Term
  Article 48/öForeigners working in the private service of individuals who serve as diplomatic staff member, consular officers, administrative and technical staff members and consular servants in diplomatic and consular representations of foreign countries in Türkiye and as international civil servants and administrative and technical personnel in international organizations in Türkiye    Employment/Service Contract Term

Foreigners who have requested international protection and whose application has not yet been finalized or who are conditional refugees, or who are granted temporary protection from the date of their international protection application, can apply for a work permit or work permit exemption six months after the date of issuance of the temporary protection identity document.

Foreigners who are within the scope of a work permit can work provided that they receive a work permit exemption. In accordance with Article 13 of the Law, foreigners who wish to obtain work permit exemption must apply to the Ministry directly, and to the embassies or consulates general of the Republic of Türkiye in the country where the foreigner is a citizen or legally resides. Applications made abroad are forwarded to the Ministry by the embassies or consulates general of the Republic of Türkiye. Applications made from abroad are not evaluated by embassies or consulates general but are forwarded to the Ministry for decision. It is also possible for these applications to be made by the authorized intermediary institution. The authorized intermediary institution also forwards these applications to the Ministry. Work permit applications are evaluated according to international labor policy. If deemed necessary by the Ministry, the opinions of relevant public institutions and organizations and professional organizations that are public institutions are considered.

Work permit exemption replaces a residence permit in accordance with the Law on Foreigners and International Protection. However, having a residence permit for any reason other than refugee or subsidiary protection status does not give the foreigner the right to work. In this context, the positive opinion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is required in granting a work permit or work permit exemption to foreigners who are granted the right to apply for a work permit or work permit exemption.

If the Ministry evaluates the application positively, a work permit exemption is issued for the foreigner. A foreigner who has a work permit exemption does not have the absolute right to stay in Türkiye.

If there is missing information or documents in the application, the evaluation of the application is postponed until these deficiencies are completed. The postponement period cannot exceed thirty days, except in cases where the existence of a force majeure delaying the completion of information or document deficiencies is documented by an official authority. Applications whose deficiencies are not completed at the end of the postponement period will be rejected.

Opportunities Provided to Foreigners with Work Permit Exemption:

It is stated as following in the 10th Department of the Council of State Decision No. 2017/144, 2021/4588: “…On the other hand, in Article 27 of the Law No. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection “Considering a work permit as a residence permit”, it is stated that ” (1) Valid The work permit and the Work Permit Exemption Confirmation Certificate issued pursuant to Article 10 of the Law No. 4817 on Work Permits for Foreigners of 27.02.2003 are deemed to be residence permits...”.

In this context, foreigners with work permit exemption are within the scope of visa exemption in terms of entering the country.

The work permit exemption certificate gives the foreigner the right to reside and work in Türkiye, in addition to the opportunity to enter Türkiye within the scope of visa exemption. In this context, these people do not need to apply for a residence permit or take any other action to work within the period stipulated for work permit exemption.

Validity and Cancellation of Work Permit Exemption:

The validity and cancellation of work permit and work permit exemption are stipulated in Article 15 of the International Labor Law.

In accordance with the first paragraph of Article 15 of the Law, it is stated that the work permit exemption will continue to be valid if it is not canceled by the Ministry and for the period for which it was issued.

In the second paragraph of Article 15, the reasons for cancellation of work permit exemption are determined. Accordingly, it has been ruled that the work permit exemption will be canceled if its validity period expires and it is not used in accordance with the provisions stipulated in the law, termination of the work for any reason, or it is determined that foreigner’s work in Türkiye can cause a harm in terms of public order, public security, or public health.

Publications

Blog
Date 1 February 2024

Work Permit Exemption

In essence, Work Permit is a permit issued as an formal document by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (“Ministry”) and gives the …

Blog
Date 15 February 2022

E-COMMERCE REGULATIONS IN TURKEY

Turkey’s e-commerce market has seen record growth amid the pandemic. According to the
Turkish Ministry of Commerce, by the end of 2020, …