Law No. 6735 - Employment of Foreigners in Turkey

Author: Berk Çektir  Full Profile here

October 2016

General Information

Law No.6735 International Workforce (the “New Law”) came into force on 13 August 2016, to regulate the employment conditions of foreign employees. This law has abolishes the previous Law No. 4817 - Work Permits of Foreigners.

Under the New Law, work permit applications can be made directly to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security or to a Turkish Consulate at a country where the applicant is a citizen of or legally resides. Applications are supposed to be finalized within 30 days by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

A new concept “Prior Authorization”:

The law introduces a new concept which requires the applicants to get an authorization from the authorities prior to the application. In certain industries such as health, education, the applicants are required to have professional competence This is a measure by the authority to make sure that the applicant has the qualification in that particular job applied for. The application for prior authorization must be made to the relevant ministry for each industry. Finally the certificate of prior authorization should be submitted to the Ministry of Labour and social security, along with the work permit application.

Duration of Work Permit:

In principle, duration of a Turkish work permit is one year unless the employment contract of the applicant is executed for a shorter definite period of time.

At the end of such year, the application can be renewed. In case the work permit application is renewed with the same employer then the renewed work permit can be granted for two more years. At the end of such two years, the application can be renewed for the third time. In this case if the work permit application is renewed with the same employer then the third work permit can be granted up to three more years.

Employees that have held a residence permit for a long time or employees that have legally worked in Turkey for at least 8 years are entitled to apply for an indefinite period work permit.

A new era: what does the new law say about the work permit requirement for a Turkish company’s foreign managers and/or foreign shareholders.

  • A manager of a limited company who is at the same time a shareholder of the same company,
  • A board member of a joint stock company, who is at the same time a shareholder of the same company,
  • An active partner of a limited partnership divided into shares,

can work by obtaining a work permit.


Those persons listed below do not need to obtain a work permit in order to perform their duties in Turkey;

  • Joint stock company board members who do not reside in Turkey,
  • Shareholders of other companies who do not have management authority,
  • International service providers* whose activities in Turkey do not exceed 90 days within 180 days.
  • International Service providers means persons who provide any kind of temporary service in Turkey and receive a salary from a Turkish or International source for the services provided in Turkey.

Turquoise Card (Turkuaz Kart)

This card provides unlimited work permit opportunities to the card holder and a residence permit for the card holder’s dependents, spouse and children. Turquoise Card Holders can enjoy all the rights granted to unlimited work permit holders.

Foreigners with a strong educational and professional background or who can contribute to the Turkish Economy with his/her abilities are eligible to receive such card.

The first three years of this card is defined as a transition period. During this period, the Ministry can request information from the card holder or his/her employer regarding the activities provided by the card holder. Upon application of the card holder, the Turquoise Card becomes an unlimited Turquoise Card if the card holder’s work permit is not cancelled due to circumstances stipulated under Article 15 of the New Law.

An application for an unlimited Turquoise Card needs to be completed, at the earliest, 180 days prior to the expiration of the transition period; and, at the latest, before the end of the transition period; otherwise, applications will be rejected and Turquoise Card will be cancelled.

Employment of Foreign Students, Architects & Engineers

Foreign students registered with a certified university under Turkish Laws can work in Turkey by obtaining a work permit. Foreign alumni who complete their degrees in Turkey can apply for work permits within one year of their graduation date. Foreigners that are graduates of Turkish architecture or engineering faculties can also do project-based work by obtaining a temporary work permit limited to the project timetable.

For further details and to see how this change in the law affects you or your business please kindly contact us,

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