Working in Turkey and What Every Foreigner Needs to Know

4 mins read

Ah, many foreigners dream of working in Turkey, and we understand the lure. The climate, people, food, and gorgeous beaches beat the nine to five grind of an office job every time. However, gone are the days when foreigners can fly overseas to Turkey, work off the books, never pay tax, and do not have to worry about legalities.

These days, the job market is tightly regulated to ensure that every worker pays tax and has adequate health insurance. Any foreign national who receives a job offer without a work permit face fines and even deportation. It is essential to have a work visa. But job-seekers should also consider occupations and where to find a job. Let us look at what to know.

About Working in Turkey

Is Turkey a Good Country to Live and Work?

Whether you choose temporary residence or live in Turkey permanently, we believe it is a good country to live and work. The more qualifications, the more chances there are to secure a job and gain a working permit. Working here also brings specific challenges like the language barrier and Turkish work culture. But many a foreigner has successfully integrated into the Turkish workforce. Aside from that, living here brings many benefits, including the climate, outdoor lifestyle, food, and a society that is genuinely welcoming and full of hospitality. Read our tips on how to make a successful move to Turkey.

Banned Professions for Foreigners in Turkey

  • Dentistry and nursing
  • Pharmacy and veterinary
  • Director of private hospitals
  • Lawyer and notary official
  • Security officer
  • Any job connected with maritime or the cabotage law, including diving
  • Customs official
  • Tourist guide

What Jobs Can Foreigners Do in Turkey?

Some foreigners work for large international companies or as members of the press, and they tend to settle in big cities like Istanbul or Ankara. One popular option, though, is to teach English as a second language. Many private schools employ English speaking foreigners who have a TEFL certificate for group and private lessons. Other workers gravitate towards summer seasonal work with holiday companies which are usually hotel or airport reps. Just think of it as a working holiday.

live and work in Turkey

Remote, work-from-home freelancers interested in self-employment should consider their options because to legally work and pay tax, they will need to form a company and have already resided in the country for a certain length of time. Large, all-inclusive hotels also advertise many entertainer positions and at the same time provide accommodation. Another popular choice for workers with childcare qualifications is to apply for work as an au-pair.

Get a Working Permit in Turkey

Apply for a work permit via the consulate in your home country or here. Your employer must apply with the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services. For foreigners with approved work applications done abroad, they must enter Turkey with 180 days. If applying within Turkey, foreigners must have at least six months left on their residence permit. If all applications are correct and supported by the relevant documents, processing times take roughly 30 days.

Documents and applications for work visas vary from trade to trade. For example, in bars and restaurants, an employer can not apply if he doesn’t employ five Turks to every foreigner. (Full details of work permits in Turkey here – ) For professional trades, there is also the option of the Turquoise card, which is a combination of a living and working visa.

What is a Turquoise Card?

Cool turquoise blue waters of the Turkish seaside entice thousands of foreigners every year. If you want these clear waters on your doorstep, you might choose to apply for the “Turquoise Card.” The card gives foreign residents a permit to work in Turkey indefinitely. According to Turkey’s Ministry for Labour and Social Security, the “Turquoise Card” provides a foreign national with many of the same rights as a Turkish citizen, although without the right to vote or responsibility of doing military service.

working in Turkey

So who can apply?

  • Highly skilled workers through valuable contributions to science and technology
  • Investors who contribute to Turkey’s economy through employment and exports
  • Researchers in industry, science, and technology
  • Internationally renowned artistic, cultural and sports workers
  • Workers contributing to Turkey’s international interests

The ministry uses a point system to approve the Turquoise visa application. Successful applicants will gain privileged citizenship rights and work permits, with residence permits granted to their spouses and dependents. To obtain a card, applicants apply via the Turkish Embassy in their home countries or, if already living in Turkey, via the Labour Ministry. Turkey grants a temporary period covering the first years, until full approval, and an indefinite period.

If playing sport to the international level is a little beyond your current capabilities, anyone can still apply for a residence of up to two years, or if they have lived in Turkey for more than eight years already, a permanent residence. None of this affects property buyers who do not want to work in Turkey but would still like to buy a property and live here.

Citizenship by Investment Program

Another option that grants foreign nationals the right to live and work in Turkey is the real estate citizenship and investment program. Anyone buying property worth at least $250,000 who pledges to keep it for at least three years is eligible to apply. If approved, they will receive permanent residency and the same working rights as a Turkish citizen. Read more about the citizenship by investment program.

Living in Turkey

Job searching and working abroad is just one aspect of expat life. To reside in Turkey gives much international experience and specific challenges like the language barrier, culture, how to connect with locals and handling finances. Our article about life in Turkey for foreigners looks at everything to know before booking that flight ticket.

About Us

We are Spot Blue International, a real estate and investment specialist operating in Turkey. If you would like to buy property while working in Turkey, browse our portfolio here. Otherwise, our blog about Turkey gives lots more helpful information on places, the culture, and succeeding in your new life as an ex-pat.

About Natalie

Natalie is a dedicated real estate professional currently working at Spot Blue International Property. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has acquired a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding global properties.