Update : Hi Readers, please do not send messages or post comments asking for help to find a job in Turkey. I am not a recruitment centre. Please read the post below on how difficult it is for foreigners to work in Turkey and post a comment if you have a genuine question however I will not answer any emails / messages asking me to help you find a job.
August 2012 – I have updated this post since publishing as the laws regarding work in Turkey for foreigners and processes for work permits are constantly changing. For up to date information on procedures, fines etc – please refer to the official website for Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Original post starts here : Every summer I meet many holiday makers who fall in love with this country and develop a dream of living here and finding work in Turkey. They ask my advice on how to find jobs and how to get work permits. The sad fact is I never see a lot of these people again.
They soon realize that Turkey is unlike The Spain of the 90’s that we all knew so well. Pitching up at the airport and finding a bar job within a week is not an option when in Turkey. Working in Turkey is a minefield that needs to be negotiated with a lot of clever planning and patience.
With this in mind, I have put together this post. Regular readers may be surprised as it is in total contrast to my other posts which recommend grabbing life by the horns and living it to the full. However I don’t want anyone to be under the illusion that spending a summer working in Turkey is going to be a doddle.
Jobs in Turkey
Turkish authorities take a very dim view of any foreigner taking a job that can be done by a Turkish citizen. Bar and restaurant work is definitely out as is working in the local supermarket. Jobs that are normally filled with foreigners are teaching or repping. Alternatively there are some large international companies or press agencies that need a foreigner in one of their branches located throughout Turkey. Even if you have a registered trade and skill such as dentist or electrician, you will be hard pressed to find someone that will employ you over a native Turk.
Working permits for Jobs in Turkey
These are normally only issued to the trades mentioned above. It has to be the employer that applies for the working permits and it is a mountain of red tape and high cash pay outs that might not even see a result. One person I know applied for a working permit four years ago and is still on the waiting list.
I strongly advise you not to do this. Even if you do find a bar that will take you on, spot visits by the police happen all the time and bar owners will certainly hang you out to dry to save their own neck. The consequences seem to differ from region to region. One girl that I knew got fined along with the employer. She was also threatened with deportation if caught working again. Another girl went to renew her residency visa and her application was refused.
Owning a Business
Personally, I think that any foreigner buying into a business in Turkey needs their head examined. However if you do decide on this route, do not think that owning a business automatically gives you working permission. It does not. Crazy right? You can buy a business but not work in it.
Let me know if you have had experience of working in Turkey as a foreigner. Would you advise against it or do you have a fail proof method for anyone wanting to live and work in the sun?
Further Reading About Turkey
Learning about the culture and traditions
My experiences of meeting the people of Turkey
Random photo posts from around the country