Work In Turkey : The Bad News

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.

work in turkeyWorking illegally

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

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. says

    My experience with teaching English in Turkey has been filled with horror stories. If you can get a legal contract clearly stating the terms, conditions, compensation, and time off that makes you and the employer happy before you come to Turkey, you will probably be okay.

    Unfortunately, most of the for profit schools prefer to make promises to get you here and then not deliver the working permit because of the cost and the red tape, not to mention if they have you working illegally while you wait for the permit, they have an advantage.

    My advice to teachers is to make sure you have everything signed, dotted, and sealed before you come.

    Once again…Great post Nat. I had no idea that business owners couldn’t work in their business without a permit and I’ve seen plenty of horror stories of foreigners buying in to Turkish businesses too, but sometimes it works out…just not very often.

    • Rafael says

      Although it’s been over a year your comment is truly a Godsent. My 21 year old daughter has been selected to teach at Bilkent University in Ankara
      Sure enough they promise the airfare, accomodations etc. You can imagine as a parent how concerned I am about the whole thing…
      If you should have any other comment or advice it would truly be incredibly appreciated!
      Thank you,

      • says

        Hi Rafael, Has she signed a contract? Also what is the name of the company she is signed up to?

        • Turk living in USA says

          She already stated that it is Bilkent University in Ankara. You have a blog commenting on the work life for foreigners in TR, but it seems like you have no idea… Bilkent University is well known. Not only in Turkey, but in the World. I would assume they’d be very professional and not like the other trashy jobs you might find as a wait staff.

          • says

            I did not ask where she was working. I asked the name of the company that she got the job through. The reason being there is a lot of scammers targeting teachers who want to work in Turkey. It seems sir, that you might be a Turk however for someone that is commenting as one, you do not know a lot about the bad side of the job market in Turkey. Next time you come on my blog with attitude, your comments get sent to the spam bin. You want to debate? Fine, do it without being rude.

        • saeid says

          dear nataly . please travel to ancient Iran and write of great persia.we are kind

          • Nat says

            I hope to make it one day Saeid. That would be magnificent.

        • khurram shakeel says

          i want to stay in Turkey and i love turk and Turk nation.

    • eric smith says

      re youre info its great to inform xspatsof the does and donts but could you tell me how one xspat who lives in turkey and working doing all the bars karioke and big websites on the net 5 years or more and no permit can you tell me why this is allowed thank you

  2. says

    I think the problem is that most people who ask the question don’t have the kind of skillset that Turkey wants and have their view centered on bar/restaurant/tourism work. People with valuable technology skills, engineering skills or those setting up companies that operate in fields outside of tourism will have a different experience.

    However as most people who come here want to live on the sunny coastline and not engage in big business then their options are limited but working online is a viable way to fund a life here and I know loads who do it. Freelance work, teaching online, being a virtual assistant, all mean whilst you live in Turkey you work in other countries and so you do not require a work permit and if people build up a good client base before they come then their location doesn’t matter, they just need a good internet connection and a work ethic that stops them lying by the pool when they should be working :-)

  3. says

    Not sure where I stand. All my business happens online. Sort of a location independent type of work – writing, coaching, consultation. But I live here. Am I legal or illegal? So far I don’t take on any Turkish clients. But the rest are from all over the world. Still trying to figure out if I am working illegally or not. Love the work though. If you love your work, can you call it work?

    • Lyn N says

      Hi Aaron, I read your message and it instantly made me smile :) I too, do consulting/coaching work…i have considered doing it online/telephone but dont know how to go about it. I would love some advice and insight into how you started. I visited turkey for the first time september this year and fell in love with the place. The culture, the food, the art, and the people are amazing :) I would really appreciate any advice/assistance you could offer me. Im contactable on….. And I totally agree, can you call it working if you love what you do ?… :)

      • says

        Hi Lyn,

        I have removed your email address so it does not get spammed however I have passed the whole message onto Aaron via email.
        Natalie wrote about..Butterfly Valley

    • Yeliz says

      Hi Aaron, it sounds dreamy ! I am Turkish and have been living in the UK for the past 9 years. I’ve kind of had enough here and feel a need to change but I am scared of going back to Turkey to live:)

      I am not sure wheteher I’d fit back in even though I was born and brought up in Turkey. When you say your job involves online consultation, writing it business consultation?

      • says

        Yeliz – never be scared to go back to Turkey. it is a wonderful country. You may find some response from Aaron if you head over to his website

        • Esma says

          i ve the same issues.. i am coming back to Turkey and wish to work remotely..can u also give me Aaron email or website please?

          • says

            Hi Esma, send me an email from the contact page letting me know your questions. I am working remotely now and fully legal. Just got it sorted last year

    • Suzana says

      Hi Aaron!

      great to hear that you love your work! I plan to move to Turkey (Izmir). I’m an international teacher of English. Have been applying to few schools but so far I haven’t received any positive news. In my home country I own my own business and I work freelance as teacher and tour guide for foreign tourists. Do you think it is possible to keep the business and work in Izmir? How is it with tax? On the other hand, can I (as a foreigner) open business there? Does paperwork get “easier” in case I add that my partner is Turkish? thx for reply!

  4. Turkey's For Life says

    The problem is, there are so many conflicting stories. We know loads of foreigners who are working who have been told by lawyers and accountants that what they are doing is fine. We also know a lot who have been told by other lawyers and accountants that their work is illegal. Does anyone actually know?!

    The general thought in Fethiye is that it is possible to own a company but if there are two of you, only one of you is allowed to actually work in it. Is this true? Who knows?!

    We’ve been asked if we want to do a bit of unpaid writing for a local newspaper but we’ve knocked it back because even voluntary work is illegal without a permit. We take no chances – there’s always someone willing to report you to the powers that be!

    On the positive side, I actually prefer sitting in a bar being served by Turkish people. I’d hate it if it was like Spain and everyone that served you was British.


  5. says

    @Vago. Hi Vago, I thought about your experience when writing the post but decided not to focus on it as was not too sure if you would be ok with this. re the business, I know a couple of businesses by foreigners who have done well, but would guess that for every one business that does well, at least 50 fail horribly. My advice is always to stick the money in a Turkish savings account with high interest instead.

    @Karen. Yes, there is the freelancing choice but is that not delving into the world of being self employed? Also agree that a person should definetely spend time building up your client base before moving out to Turkey on the promise that they will be earning easy bucks within weeks.

    @Aaron. When I have spoke to people about this before, I believe you would actually be classed as self employed which is another post in itself. Turkish authorities also do not do well on advising people about this as no one seems to know the correct version.

    @Turkeys for life. Exactly, there seems to be a different story where ever you go. I also believe that in some areas it depends on who and how well off your potential employer is as to whether they will be pulled up. It is a shame that you felt, you had to turn down the newspaper work though.


    Hi Natalie

    I am a little confused. You seem to be advising English not to work or buy a business in Turkey ,but dont you work in Turkey yourself?

  7. says

    yea, the only thing I can add to this is that the ONLY positive experiences I know with the labor authorities here is people who have gotten a job at the local private university (Cag.) All other situations have been fraught with lies, broken promises, lawyer fees, broken dreams, and in the worst cases big fines and bribes. It’s very unfortunate.

  8. says

    @Kathyrn. Hi Kathryn, I am sorry if it read that I am advising English not to work as that was not my intention. I am trying to steer them towards professions that do have a realistic chance of getting work permits ie tourism, teaching etc. The summer is coming up and I met too many people who come across with dreams of spending the summer here by working in a bar or a restaurant. Starting out with that idea is a sure fire receipe for failure in my opinion.

    Re the business. Yes I am definitely saying do not buy into any business in Turkey as a foreigner. Don’t you think it is crazy that a foreigner can buy into a business but not work in it? There is also the cultural differences towards work attitudes and simple things like due diligence and keeping books which a lot of businesses in these small resorts do not do.

    Yes, I work however I have Turkish citizenship. Before I took the citizenship, I went through all the hurdles of the working minefield in Turkey as a foreigner and my advice is to plan and do a lot of clever thinking. Don’t just get on a plane and expect to find work that is legal and fruitful as well.

    • Charlotte waters says

      Hi, i’m looking into working in turkey next season- 2013. I would love to work there after losing my dad 2years ago i want to live my life and would love to try a season in Dalyan. I’m looking to go through all the motions but looks difficult i have been offered a work place so its now getting the work visa i dont suppose you could shed any light on how?

      Charlotte Waters.

  9. says

    @Jake. Hi Jake, It is good though that you do know of some positive experiences in Adana with foreigners working. I know of a couple here and perhaps it is better to think of them instead of the ones that fail.

  10. says

    I agree with you Nat when it comes to seasonal tourism type work, and i would definitely advise against it. Besides the deportation aspect, many summer workers find themselves working hard and not getting paid in the end.

    Joining or setting up business is indeed something to be thought about deeply. If not for the fact that you are actually not allowed to work in your own business, also because you are dealing with a workforce that has a complete different work ethic. That sometimes can make you feel somebody is drunk, wearing shades and driving the car in the dark while you’re in the passenger seat :)

  11. says

    Wow, it’s not like here. You see so many foreigner working here. I think it’s also good because they want to give native people in Turkey more jobs then to other people.

  12. says

    @Sobesan. While yes, there is the other question about whether you will find yourself being paid. I am also glad to learn that you have also seen the difficulties that foreigners can have when setting up business.

    @Sarah.It is good that they want to give natives Turks jobs before foreigners and I am sure that anyone would say the same of their own country.

  13. says

    Great advice!

    A few years ago, I conducted an interview with a guy who had some experience working in Turkey and he thought he was in a pretty safe situation since he was a partner in the company. But as you said, this is NO Guarantee.

    (There are seven parts but it is quite shocking/entertaining/ informative.)

    Also, as far as a contract, this is not a big protection. That would depend on the character of the patron. If you have chosen the right person to work for, your contract will have some value and it will be honored. BUT the opposite is also true. I have heard many a school manager say- with some inexplicable pride- that a contract was just a piece of paper. It is only better than nothing, but not much.

    The most important point to keep in mind is the hierarchy of rights. As a foreigner you will have zero rights. The most corrupt English school manager will always have more rights than you. The laws of the states are designed to protect the state only, not the individual. You can forget that concept off the bat. So, if the bok hits the vanilator, you can scream all you want about your rights and you can be absolutely correct in all of your points but it won’t matter one… little.. bit.

    I still see blogs that tell people that it is easy to find work in Turkey and there won’t be a problem about working illegally. And there are plenty of people who are willing to risk it. And they might never run into problems. However, if your luck fails you, it could lead to an expensive nightmare.
    Thanks for your information and your commonsense approach, Nat.

    • says

      Joe – I read all seven parts of the interview and the shocking thing is I can identify with a lot of what he is saying. The lack of rules and regulations and the people following them is widespread and that is why there is always so much confusion when people try to do things properly and legally. There is also a lot of people who think they know what they are talking about when they know nothing at all.

      Totally recommend all readers to have a look at the above interview and if you want to travel in Turkey, find some other way to get funds then working.

  14. says

    It reminds of something I heard about being a foreign woman in Saudi Arabia. She said that it isn’t so much about being restricted that’s the major problem. I find that often applies here too. It’s not knowing what is permitted and what is not permitted and when you finally find out the difference, you find yourself in a awful mess. When you go to ask for information at the yabanci department, you are quite likely to get a different answer on different days and depending on who you speak with.

    There is a reason, I suppose why the laws regarding foreigners are vague. The reason is so that they can be enforced at the authorities’ discretion and quite arbitrarily. And this, in turn, opens the door to corruption in the form of bribery or a kind of blackmail. (It isn’t as bad as it used to be, either.)

    One time I was standing in line at Cesme, about to do my visa run, and I struck up a chat with a woman who had traveled from Ankara for the same reason. She was nervous because her visa had expired a week or two before. This made me more nervous because my own had expired a month and a half before! However, in the end, she had to pay more than I did. I didn’t understand why and I certainly didn’t want to ask why.

    On one point I was confused about Vincent’s claims. I felt that something was amiss in the whole deportation thing. I mean, he had opened up a court case so how was it possible that they were able to deport him anyway. So I checked with the European Declaration on Human Rights
    and sure enough, it is not possible to deport an accused visa violator until he has had his time before a judge. All deportation has to be delayed until a judicial review. Still, he was deported despite the laws that should have protected him. Obviously there was some bureaucratic method to circumvent the protections.

    I am not saying that Turkey is either worse or better than any other country and God knows I can find innumerable examples from my own country. The thing, I think that bothers me more is that the problem isn’t a case of a mere oversight or a single petty office tyrant taking liberties. It is much more disturbing when it is a systematic institutionalized problem.

    • says

      Joe – Totally agree with everything that you say above however I like to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am slowly starting to see changes in Turkey and I think they are trying to sort their act out. Will this extend to timely working permits being granted to for foreigners? I like to believe so. Not within the next five years or so but I believe it will happen. However I still do not want foreigners to take the jobs that Turks can do such as working in bars or restaurants.

  15. says

    Yes, I agree with you about foreigners working in bars, etc. As far as English teaching goes, the situation used to be worse. So many backpacker types would see English teaching not as a serious occupation but merely as a means of supporting their traveling adventures.

    The thought was, “I can speak English so I can teach it too.” So you would have private school charging oodles for sub-standard teachers who would work illegally. The pay was subsistence at best. The managers were able to do exactly as they pleased and nobody could dare to make a fuss about it. And as soon as the backpackers got bored with the arrangement, the lack of fun, or depressed by the change of seasons, or when something better came along in Thailand, Vietnam, Chile, they would do “runners” and you’d never hear from them again. dumping their poor students in the lurch.

    Things for foreigners became stricter since that time and I suspect the quality of English teaching improved too. :)

    • Paddington Bear says

      @Nomad: You are soooo right! Here in Europe where I am teaching English, it’s the same. Result: Stricter guidelines, but I can’t say that the English teaching has greatly improved. And the salary is abysmal in almost all European countries, for English teaching jobs. Unless you’re lucky to get loads of private students or steadier work at a university.

      I’ve been seriously considering moving to Turkey. I’ve 5 former colleagues who all went there and 3 of them are still there, 5 years on.

  16. Singapore Work Visa says

    @Natalie This post really sounds wonderful. The information provided by you is really appreciable. Good blog with some intriguing information.

  17. jenni says

    thanks for the post, im sure its useful to many who are planning to come to turkey :)

    what i find the difficult part is that while its easy to say “dont take a job without a work permit”, the employers often do promise that (even in the contract, but its again useless until u have a permit), but never do it . then again, applying for jobs from abroad via mail is not easy either, u should already be in turkey. and since the work permit application takes months at least, typically an employer will expect u to start work before its gone through. i am sure the international big companies might go by the rules but english teaching and other random jobs not so.

    me and everyone i know would love a work permit but the employer is just sitting on the application, at least long enough to believe you are committed – and i cant blame them since esp. english teachers come and go every month almost… and at the same time we(employees) have managed to already move here, maybe find a relationship, home etc so making a salary is important too (=must work).

    someone should write a blog entry about how to push your employer to get the permit 😀

    • says

      Hi Jenni. Thanks for your comment and I definitely agree. The system is not on the side of the employee at all. Even if the employer does go through the process, the powers that be seem to hold up the process a lot. I might be wrong but I do believe it is also a case of who you know and also get the feeling that the big international companies are given priority. The person that manages to write that blog post will be ver successful I think as it will be used by foreigners all over Turkey!

  18. hannah says

    hello im hannah i just want to know is that i want to work in turkey for sesonal work in a bar how do i get my visa? or what do i need to do ? is there any costs? at all

    • says

      Hi Hannah, Unfortunately the likelihood of you getting a work visa for seasonal work in a bar is non existent. This job can be done by a Turk. The visa also has to be applied for by the employer and not the employee. Typically bar owners will never apply for work visas for foreign staff.

  19. kershea Clement says

    Your blog has been so useful! I’d like to teach there in a year or 2,and I hope to make contact with a language school when i’m there.
    Do you/Does anyone perhaps know of any reputable schools that employ NETs?

  20. Celina says

    I have been reading the comments and must say I am totally shocked with the things I have been reading here. First of all; the country houses many happy foreigners within who works in variety of different field including public and private sectors. The requirement by foreign workers to become residence for an indefinete period is at a very high level. As many other countries within the continent of Europe (not only EU countries) there are specific requirements a business or a profession holder should have; quality of education and social skills are on the top of the list, unlike many other countries I know in Europe: Turkey certainly is looking for these qualities. For instance: A teacher must have a very high level of Education on their chosen subject and very high social skills. It is not possible to become a teacher with 6 or 12 months courses taken in colleges or private organizations’ as it takes between 4 and six university years just to become graduate junior teacher for Turks. Coming from English speaking country won’t prove your quality of profession or your language to them; it only will mean that you are a native citizen of an English speaking country. Therefore, I must say that the comments above are very low as it looks more like individual experiences has been generalized for propaganda purposes. Criticize could be very positive feedback for any country unless they are made up stories caused by commenter’s very own failure.

  21. says

    Hi Celina, Thanks for your comment however it has left me very confused. I never said there was not foreign workers in Turkey. What I said is that if you want to work in a bar or restaurant for the summer, the possibility of you doing it legally is zilch.

    Also I really do not see any of my commentators making up stories either. It is their personal experience and your post above is just saying the same as the main post and their comments, so you will have to be more specific as you say you are shocked but you agree with most of what has been said! I am confused..

  22. Celina says

    This is my second post today to ask you where my first post is??? My comment is written with a plain simple language avoiding any upsetting phrase, so why not putting it through??? Anyways not to worry :))) I hope you are listening to the news in BBC and aware of the strrugle EU facing. Your specially chosen and delibrately taken pictures seems not to work very well don’t you think??? Nothing further than truth!!! The worst thing you can do to yourself is cheat oneself!!!
    ps.. Have you even met a Turkish woman? Still pictures are very cute taken in a small remote village specially prepared, however far from reality.

  23. says

    Celina, Your first post is directly above your second post. Comments do not get automatically approved due to spammers. I read your comment and approved it straight away. Re the pictures – Once again, you are going to have to explain that one to be as well. You do not make sense
    Natalie wrote about..The Sleeping Valley of Uyku Vadisi

  24. Celina says

    If you tell me what part doesn’t make sense I will be happy to explain. When it comes to my first comment; it wasn’t addressed only to you personally, it was a disagreement with a few other comments I have read in your blog. However there is one question I like to ask to you. What message does the sentence of yours below trying to give?

    (“However I still do not want foreigners to take the jobs that Turks can do such as working in bars or restaurants”).

    For a country which has its own technology and industry the sentence above sounds odd. Success has nothing to do with nationality. Jobs like waitress/ waitresses may not considered permanent occupation as with a little training anyone can do it. It is same here in London. When it comes to false promises or disappointments, it is no different here. But still, what job can Joan do better than Selin? Or, what job can a Turk not do?

    In one other comment I have read a sentence about expired visa or work permit. Failing to do so here in London will result in deportation and fine. (How can someone not realize his/her visa has expired 1, 5 months ago and how is this Authorities fault?).

    When it comes to BRIBE, I believe every country has its own way to bribe, in different way in the different forms some are smartly planned some are carried out openly but the problem is there.

    I agree that it should widen its prospective when it comes to employment (foreign) but I disagree with the description (as written in a comment) ‘Horror’

  25. says

    Hi Celina,

    To be honest, your whole post did not make sense as you said you were shocked however then your message was along the same tones as what everyone else was saying.

    Re my sentence “However I still do not want foreigners to take the jobs that Turks can do such as working in bars or restaurants”. The message is that tourism in Turkey provides a lot of jobs for a lot of people in Turkey. People from the east of Turkey will migrate to the west in the summer periods to look for jobs in bars and restaurants. Don’t you feel that they should be given priority over someone who comes from another country and does not even have Turkish citizenship? Why should an English person looking to spend a summer in Turkey be given a bar or restaurant job over a Turkish citizen who needs that job to ensure that his family survives?

    I don’t see why the comment sounds odd. Also I don’t see what technology has to do with it. Yes, industry has a lot to do with it because we are talking about the tourism industry and that in itself ensures that a lot of Turkish people have jobs.

    You say that the job of a waitress or waiter is not considered as a permanent occupation and I would have to disagree. I know a lot of Turks who take the trade of being a waiter seriously. They studied at tourism school for it or were a komi for a number of years before being given the promotion as a waiter. They study the English, German, Russian languages to death. So much so that they can even point out accents from regions within that country.

    Also you talk about what job Joan can do that Selin can’t? Or what job can a Turk not do? This is such a strange statement as anyone can do a job depending on their skills and abilities. Whether they are better at that job, then someone else is another discussion in itself.

    re the comment about the visa being expired for one and a half months. This commenter never said it was the authorities fault. When he was talking about the authorities fault, he was referring to the link that was posted regarding a gentlemen who did get deported. He starts the new paragraph with “On one point I was confused about Vincent’s claims” to indicate that he has changed the subject of conversation from himself to the man that is talked about in the link.

    I read all seven parts of that mans story and I have to agree that it was the authorities fault. That man had the advice of lawyers as to whether he was working in Turkey legally and the lawyers along with his employers assured him and provided written documentation that he was not breaking the law. He even checked with local government offices himself and they assured him that he was not breaking any rules. Eventually he got arrested and it all went to court and the lawyers incompetence along with his employers incompetence was ignored which resulted in his deportation. You really have to read all seven parts of that mans story and then you will understand why the authorities were at fault on that occasion.

    Re Bribes, yes every country has bribing going off either in full view or behind the scenes. Totally agree with you on that one.

    Re widening its prospective and allowing foreigners to work. There are some instances when the government should and there are some instances when it should give its own citizens priority first.

    The main focus of the post however and I think that you have missed this is that the system needs re hauling and more information needs to be readily available to foreigners. I know plenty of foreigners and their employers who have paid the authorities for working permits and it is dead money because the criteria and the application process is so ancient, complicated and has more holes in it then a cheese grater!! The process needs to be streamlined and people need to be made aware of what industries they can take a job in as a foreigner and what industries they can not. Instead of the authorities taking money and never even bothering to give an answer of “application denied”

  26. Celina says

    I still do not get WHAT??? Doesn’t make any sense, my comments does not back up any of the comments sent to your blog so I can’t be defending the same things. I believe you are playing with the words. Let me start with: At first you were pointing at foreign visitors who want to work in bars or restaurant during their short stay than you pointed at the complication of obtaining a work permit and the rest afterwards but, know you are turning all your words around sounding more positive about the country. Remind you, you can’t obtain a work permit with a tourist visa in the UK. Even if you have seasonal work permit; it is not possible to get a job in starbucks (for instance) right from airport. I find it interesting that you mentioned Turkish people from east part of country (mainly Kurdish) travelling to the west part in summer and I also have found it interesting that you agree foreign shouldn’t be preferred over them by employers.

    You should have mentioned this before you said (“
    However I still do not want foreigners to take the jobs that Turks can do such as working in bars or restaurants.”) So we would know you are talking about the workers without a specific profession or skills (Mostly workers from little remote villages on the east part). Otherwise your sentence can be translated in many other ways (negative) by readers. The question about “Joan” and “Selin” has therefore been asked to you by me to indentify its aim. However you gave me a rounded answer and blank meaning. Same with “Technology and Industry”… Technology’s indicated by me to point out that the country doesn’t rely on Tourism only. Working in bars and restaurants is not the only option Turks have, there is more than that. Once again your answer was totally in different direction than your message above

    I know how Universities work in the country. I know what subjects are being studied. I just don’t know what you are trying to point out with your words. No! Coming to the country as a tourist and going into a restaurant asking for a job as a waitress right from airport is not taken seriously in Turkey. A University graduate will be trained to managerial level automatically but a back packer will not be taken seriously within the field. In small family businesses: Family members will be trained to carry out the job to keep the profit in.

    I am totally backing up my words. Waitress/waitresses are not considered as a profession. It will be studied as part of hospitality but casually it will not be accepted as a profession. Remind you serving, setting up tables, pleasing visitor or relatives; these are a part of their culture. Therefore being a waitress is not a big deal for them.

    Eventually, I just want people to know without any proper qualification you will not be able to get guaranteed job in any profession. Coming from English speaking country is not good enough to practice any kind of occupation. If you underestimate the country because of misleading and false information, it is most likely your visit or experience will be disappointment just like in any other country in Europe. For example: You must prepare yourself the same way you go to Germany to work, if you have the idea of going there to teach because you speak English and you have a few certificates from some College or education center like Pitman or ICS etc… than you are in very wrong way.

    I am pretty tired of this subject my last words will be: I hope Authorities will be pleasing foreigners better by giving them up to date information and less confusion (as you wish).

    Take care!!!

    • Turk living in USA says

      Celina. I do agree with your comments.
      How is it that a person who has never lived in Turkey can comment on things like work permit and so on…
      Nobody should mislead others. If you have skills and get a real job offer from a real company you’ll get your permit and get paid. If you want to see illegal workers try to move to USA and see… :)

      • says

        Who has not lived in Turkey? If you are referring to me, I have lived in Turkey for 11 years and married a Turk so I think I have a good idea. I have also known people who have skills, had a job offer from a real company and never been paid or received a work permit. The Turkish emlak sector is notorious for that.

  27. says

    Hi Celina,

    There is no turn of words. My view is still the same as it was when I wrote the post and to back up my words, if rumours are to be believed there is going to be a massive crack down of illegal workers in all of the tourist resorts this summer.

    Why do I need reminding as well that you can not obtain a work visa while being a tourist in the uk? The article I wrote above was to point out that all the main stream job sites who tell people it is possible to get seasonal work in Turkey are wrong. I am not speaking about England. I still do not understand what your issue is with my article. Please state directly what you think is wrong with the article.

    (Comment edited here)

    Re being a waiter. My husband is a waiter and there is more to it than smiling. Simple things like knowing knife and forks positions. Which glass for which wine? Which side do you serve the plate from and which side do you take it away etc etc. Can I also remind you that this so called non profession as you state it, In the tourist resorts of Turkey requires the knowledge of at least two languages. This might not be the case in England but in Turkey, If you do not speak English, Russian, German etc as second language than you will not work in an establishment that caters for foreign people.

    Re teaching – I know some English teachers that have been employed here with certificates so will also disagree with you on the last statement as well.

    You take care as well Celina. Thanks for the debate.

  28. Christopher says

    I’ve lived and worked in Turkey for nine years. In that time I’ve worked in three different companies in the marine sector and owned two private businesses.

    While I agree with the opinions above that working in the lower end of the tourism sector as waiters and bartenders is not a viable path for foreigners, I disagree with several of your other statements.

    Obtaining a work permit requires that you have a firm job offer from a Turkish firm or ahve an interest in a Turkish corporation. I have never had any terrible mountain of red tape to overcome. It may seem like that if you don’t understand the system, but once you due, it’s not so bad. I also never had any “high cash payouts” to deal with. I renewed the permit in May and it cost 123TL. Never had to bribe any official for one either.

    I know some foreign owners who do not reside here at all, yet have residency and work permits due to the fact that they own a business. Two of them do so without any Turkish partner at all.

    Turkey already grants work visas in a timely manner to qualified workers who have firm offers of employment. It’s not instantaneous, but it is timely enough. No country has an open door policy for foreign workers and don’t know why anyone would expect Turkey to be any different. Turkey makes it much easier for Americans, Canadians, and EU citizens to work here than those countries do for Turks.

    Your statement that you “do not want foreigners to take the jobs that Turks can do such as working in bars or restaurants”, comes across as very condescending. Turks I work with in industry are very skilled, highly motivated, and have a far better work ethic than most people in more developed countries. They can anything they want to do.

    If you want to work successfully in Turkey in an industry other than tourism, one that requires real skill sets, you must have an open mind, be willing to set aside the idea that you know better than they do, and have the ability to set aside your ego to learn from them. The same is probably true where ever you go in the world.

    Most foreigners who fail or have a hard time here, do so because of their own attitudes and lack of real and honest openness.

    • Oscar says


      You wrote your comment for more than one year ago but I hope I can reach you now anyway. I ve been long seeking for a foreigner in Turkey with this kidn of attitude you have. I want to move to Turkey to run a business. I am norwegian citizen originary from Colombia, I work with project mangement in one of the biggest suppliers for the oil and gas sector in the world. The facts are that I am in love with a turkish woman and sick an tired of the cold and bad weather in Norway, and off course I really love Turkey. Unfortunatelly I dont speak turkish but I want too. The other fact is that Turkey does nt have a very strong presens of oil and gas companies because this is no one of the countries main ressurses, however, my idea is to open a business, eather with partners within energy effectivisation in buildings and /our coffee shops(coffee culture is something i love since I spent my childhood in a coffee farm in Colombia). i just want to explore opportunities in Istanbul or Ismir with this two projects. I have the firm in Norway to import-export and I am planning, with my girlfriend, to establish a firm for the same pourpose in Istanbul. I have my partners in Colombia for the import og the product, a recognized brand and a exelent product of coffee that not even Starbucks have, since the whole concept is Colombian Premium Coffee with escalable coffee shops concept (mixture between europe shop and latin/turkish twist). I am really motivated to do this but I need to get in contact with industrial people in Turkey with good attitude as yourself.

      Looking forward to your respons or from any industrial foreigners or turks with the same motivasion and international experience.

      Best regards,


  29. says

    Hi Christopher,

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, as I stated in my post, you have to already have the job offer to apply for a working permit. Luckily, you and your employers have found the process to be quite easy. There are plenty of Turkish employers who have said to me that they hate the process, they don’t understand the process and they don;t see why they should pay out dead money. If Turkish employers don;t understand the working permits rules and applications then how is a foreigner meant to understand them?

    As far as I know the people that you are talking of who do not have a Turkish partner have a different set up when it comes to the business and how it is legally registered by law. What are their trades? From experience, I have seen and spoke to many people who have bought bars and restaurants and they have not been allowed to work in them.

    Also I am not expecting an open door policy for foreigner workers. The whole post was written to dispel the myth that Turkey has an open door policy regarding foreign workers. What I am calling for is the process to be more streamlined and more information to be made readily available for foreigners who do want to work legally. Even more so, when they apply for the permit, at least an answer of application denied! My experience is obviously different from yours but that makes neither me or you wrong.

    Also my statement that I do not want foreigners to take the jobs in bars or restaurants is not condescending. I am married to a Turkish man who works in a restaurant. That is our income, that is our livelihood. Also if you read my comments above, the job as a waiter is not a by-the-by job as you and another another commenter suggested. My husband works extremely hard and studied the trade at tourism school. He has worked extremely hard to learn a second language so that the work possibilities open up for him. This trade is our life! For the record as well, I do think the Turks excel when it comes to keeping customers happy in the bar and restaurant trade. While I have not experienced bar and restaurant service in countries such as America or Australia or Canada. I do think the Turks are better at the job than British people.

    I also have to disagree with your last statement. “Most foreigners who fail or have a hard time here, do so because of their own attitudes and lack of real and honest openness” I know a lot of foreigners who have fallen because of lack of information or the incorrect information. Some times, this information has been given to them by lawyers!!! There are foreign people who have followed the advice of a lawyer when buying property and they have lost their houses through no fault of their own. There are other people who have bought businesses, only to later discover that the information given to them was incorrect.

    Luckily it has worked out for you and me, however it has not for so many other people. Should we not have a bit of compassion for them instead of putting ourselves on the moral high ground?

  30. Henry says

    I wanted to set-up a business consulting company in Turkey and the accountant (recommended to me by HSBC in Turkey) said if I set-up a company then I do not need a work permit. This appears to be very misleading information for which I was about to incur YTL5,000+ costs. I checked at the British Consulate and they said I need a work permit even if I set-up a company. Furthermore, the Turkish government website says that to apply for a work permit the company must have 5+ Turkish staff and a host of other requirements, so even if I set-up a company it will not be able to apply for a work permit for me. Is it therefore a waste of time for me to set-up a company in Turkey? If so I guess the only option is wait until I have been in Turkey for 5 years and then apply for an independent work pemit. Any comments on whether what I am saying is right or not would be most welcomed. Thanks very much.

  31. Henry says

    I also wanted to comment on the discussion about working in Turkey. Firstly, it is certainly far more difficult for Turkish people to live and work in Europe than for us to work in Turkey. Even just to visit Europe as a tourist is difficult enough for Turkish people. Secondly, whether or not I can set-up a company and get a work permit for myself in Turkey, I feel very priveleged that as a foreigner we can just move to Turkey and automatically get a residence permit and live here. This would be near impossible for Turks to do in Europe. We should thank Turkey for its openess to foreigners which is not reciprocated. Thirdly, I agree that it is perfectly reasonable to expect the Turkish government to protect jobs for the Turkish people. Governments worldwide do this. The average income in most EU countries is at least 3 times that of Turkey and despite Turkey’s blistering economy it still has higher unemployment than Europe especially in the very poor South East Turkey which is dependent on seasonal tourist jobs in the West of Turkey. To allow tourists/visitors to work en masse especially in tourism makes no economic or political sense in Turkey right now. Fourthly, I agree that as individuals we have to be very cautious of the advice being given as I recently found out again after being stung before by incorrect legal advice. Foreigners are so often taken advantage of . This is still a much pooer country than Western Europe and I guess has to be expected (especially outside of the major cities). I would love to set-up a business consulting company in Turkey and get a work permit straight away, buy I understand that there are valid reasons why this may not be possible, and if not I will continue to enjoy living in Turkey, tread cautiously in anything involving money, and go overseas to generate the income I need to live here.

  32. says

    Hi Henry,

    Thanks for your comments. I would love to be able to help you however unfortunately my knowledge of setting up companies in Turkey is very limited. I understand your frustration at being giving different information by different people and totally understand that you want to cross the T’s and dot the I’s before you proceed.

    I often read a column by a gentlemen called Berk Cetir. Maybe he has written something that can help you.

    Alternatively, Chris who was a previous commenter mentioned that he knew people who had been through the process. Maybe he can shed a bit more light on what is the right procedure and what is the wrong procedure.

    Failing that, is there any Turkish lawyer firms operating in your home town? You do not mention where you are from but I know in London there is a Turkish lawyer firm called London Legal international. One of the lawyers called Burcu Orhan has been spoken off highly by expats that I know. I notice on their website that they list Company/Commercial Law as one of their services.
    Natalie wrote about..The Floating Restaurant Called Giritli

  33. Joseph says

    Hi Natalie,

    Coming across your blog accidentally (this is my first read). I am puzzled by the pettiness, negativity and hostility from a few contributors. On the other hand, many of the contributions are instructive and interesting. A range of individual opinions,
    experiences, and your measured responses are well worth reading.

    Of course, I too do not agree with all that you say. For instance, the corrosive cancer of corruption and bribery is certainly not a regular factor of life in all societies – contrary to a comment you seem to agree with. Unfortunately, they are a part of everyday life in countries like Algeria, Morocco, Bolivia, etc. Surely the degree and acceptance of corruption in those countries is utterly incomparable with the situation in the UK or Australia? Not ever being to Turkey, I cannot comment on that country. However, I appreciate the opportunity to learn, something your blog certainly provides.

    Thank you

    Joseph (-:

    • says

      Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for your comment. The fact that many people can add their points of view to a blog is what makes blogging great I think. With a number of contributions from different people all from different walks of life, one 500 word article can be turned into quite an interesting read.

      Regarding bribery, I have to admit that I am also an avid conspiracy theorist and I do believe that even in countries like the Uk and Australia it still happens but they are better at covering it up. The recent incident with police officer bribery and the News of the World newspaper is one such incident which has come unstuck for them though! I hope you enjoy reading the rest of the blog.

    • says

      Joseph writes “”For instance, the corrosive cancer of corruption and bribery is certainly not a regular factor of life in all societies .” I must respectfully disagree, as this article by my ole buddy Fred (read the whole article before you comment please…)
      Fred says: “Several major differences exist between the usual corruption in the Third World and that in America. In most of the Third World, corruption exists from top to bottom. Everyone and everything is for sale. Bribery amounts to an economic system, like capitalism or socialism. By contrast, in the United States, graft flourishes mostly at the level of government and commerce.”

  34. says

    The last unemployment figures I saw for Turkey, was the April figures posted in July. And unemployment has dropped a couple of %. But I think until the restrictions on Turkish people being able to work in the rest of Europe have eased up, the restrictions on foreigners working in Turkey will remain in place.
    Roving Jay wrote about..Waxing Lyrical about your Top 5 Picks for the Bodrum Peninsula

  35. Carolyn says

    Hi Natalie, I know you from turkish home sweet home, I have been reading all your bloggs with interest, it seems working and living in Turkey is an absolute minefield, I think it is just a pity that the UK dont have such policies such as the Turkish not giving work to foreingners that a Turkish person can do. Charity begins at home so to speak, however, we would like to come and live permanently in Turkey, I think your advice about putting money into a high interest Turkish bank account is sound advice under the circumstances of the legal system to foreingn workers. I totally agree with you that the turkish people are much better in the hospitaltiy sector than the english, from the experiences we have had both here in the UK and in Turkey. I agree also that the waiters and bar workers, work extremely hard and long hours, most restaurants they are so polite and extremely professional and are very mindful of the needs of the customers, the turkish people in my own experience are very kind and family orientated and will go out of their way to help others. This may not be the case for other visitors from the UK but it is my experience. This is what drew us to Turkey in the first place and why we bought a house and why we keep coming back. I have enjoyed reading all the bloggs from yourself and from other commentors, I was very confused by the comments made by Celina, some of the things just did not make any sense to me. Thank you though for all the helpful information it has been very interesting.

  36. says

    Hi Carolyn, Long time no see. It must be about three years now. Thanks for following my blog and also adding your comments. We should try and catch up for a drink next time you are in Altinkum. Say hi to everyone for me.
    Natalie wrote about..The Culprits That Stole My Lunch

  37. says

    Celina’s comment:
    “For instance: A teacher must have a very high level of Education on their chosen subject and very high social skills. It is not possible to become a teacher with 6 or 12 months courses taken in colleges or private organizations’ as it takes between 4 and six university years just to become graduate junior teacher for Turks.”
    This is a very interesting remark because I have met many teachers who have far less teaching qualifications and have found work. And I am not speaking of years past either. I am referring to just this year. An online course was apparently accepted and a working permit was granted – which shocked me because I had assumed at the very least, some class time would be required.
    I am not sure where she got her information from but it seems pretty inaccurate from my experience. It is not quite the days of the teaching backpacker hippie dude, but it is also certainly not at the standard “Celina” would like to imply.

    And Christopher’s statement that “Most foreigners who fail or have a hard time here, do so because of their own attitudes and lack of real and honest openness” was not exactly what I have found to be true. Or is a sweeping generality.

    Although I have met a lot of foreigners who have tried to live and work in the country illegally, I have met as many who have come to the country promised that they would receive the proper documentation by private course owners, only to wait and wait while working illegally, putting themselves at risk.
    And when things do turn out badly, the legal option is usually out of the question due to the slow processing of the court system in Turkey. A foreign teacher who has been a victim of an unscrupulous school manager that hasn’t lived up to the contract is very unlikely to wish to spend years in courts here and incurring exorbitant legal fees from lawyers. Most of them, of course, do not have those financial resources or the time to pursue their perfectly legitimate complaint. Or they would have grave doubts about how fair they would be treated in a Turkish court. To think that most problems that arise is the fault of the foreigner is fairly naive, in my opinion.

    Having said that, I do think the situation in Turkey is improving dramatically and it is becoming easier to work within the rules set out by the authorities. The costs for example are coming do to a reasonable fee and feel much less like a shake-down. Still, your original article is sensible advice to anybody who wishes to come to Turkey with the idea that finding work will be without any potential risks or problems.
    Nomad wrote about..Murdoch Revealed

    • Steve says

      Hi Nomad and Nat,

      Interesting posts and views of Turkey! Unfortunately, some of the posts remind me of the plethora of “shock jocks” we have on radio and TV here in Aussie!

      When posts along the lines of “I had a friend of a friend who had a horrible time working in Turkey and the contract wasn’t honoured and nobody cares about the foreigners in Turkey and etc. etc. etc.” are written, it is important to point out that these are subjective examples, which are missing a huge part of the information – the other side of the story! These posts only serves to demonise a group of people – in this case, Turkish people. Nat, I would have expected you to point this out on your blog as a point of credibility.

      Nomad, your post placing doubt on the fairness of the Turkish judicial system is definitely baseless and uncalled for. Unless you are a lawyer having worked many years in the Turkish judicial system, you are in no position to make such statements, nor are you in a position to state that “…the situation in Turkey is improving dramatically…” – what is the basis of your comment, how do you know what it was like before, how do you know what it is like for a foreigner to do the same things in the UK? If you were to have said “in my opinion…”, then that would have been acceptable, but the way you have written your post suggests that it is a well-known fact. Again, this is subjective and does nobody any favours, least of all the people who read this blog to get info on Turkey. And again, it’s disappointing that you did not point this out either, Nat.

      I completely understand what Christopher is trying to say in his post: in short, don’t expect to find the same system as in the UK, in Turkey. Turkey is different, it does things a different way (just like the English drive on the left side of the street and the rest of the world on the right), it’s not better, not worse, it’s just different. If you go to Turkey thinking otherwise, you will have a hard time adjusting. So, listen to the people, try to learn their way of life and expect differences to what you are comfortable with in your home country. The sooner you can do this the smoother your transition will be into the normal Turkish way of life. ie. the sooner you learn to drive on the right side of the street in Turkey, the less pain you will experience! :)

      On bribery: we all talk about it, we all seem to have a point of view on it, but how many of us really know how to give a bribe? This is not something an average person is born or educated to do – this applies to Turkish people as well. Besides, let’s not forget Fergie taking a bribe – are we now to assume that all of the royal family are rotten to the core?!

      Great blog, keep up the good work.

      • says

        Hi Steve,

        Thanks for your comments. When writing the article, I deliberately said I knew a girl etc to show subjective examples, however I don’t want to distract from the overall message.

        I also do not feel the post is aimed at Turkish people. It is aimed at the Turkish system which has a lot of room for improvement.

        You mention that people should adjust to their new life in Turkey and I totally agree but Nomads example is not the only one that I have come across where an English person has tried to do their best to adjust and the Turkish system has let them down. Whether this is working, buying property or the average red tape.

        I typed this quote at the beginning of my 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.” I did this because I had a strong message that I wanted to be heard. Everyday people are still coming to this blog through searching bar jobs in Turkey on the internet. I want them to know exactly what they are getting themselves into if they decide to pursue this dream
        Natalie wrote about..From Expat Blogger To Published Author : How He Did it

    • says

      Nomad writes: “A foreign teacher who has been a victim of an unscrupulous school manager that hasn’t lived up to the contract is very unlikely to wish to spend years in courts here and incurring exorbitant legal fees from lawyers.”

      I taught several years at Istanbul Bilgi University and I know personally of several foreign teachers who were arbitrarily fired by a department head who successfully sued and got a fat check OR were reinstated, within a few months of their firing,

      I certainly agree that it can be difficult to get a reputable teaching job, that is where teacher fairs in foreign countries and where diligent, serious, research will pay off. Also, ALWAYS have a return ticket “outta there” just in case.

      Moving to a foreign country, especially one which has a different value system, religion, culture and language is not something to take lightly unless you are one of the “nomadic” backpacker (slacker?) types who move on when the mood suits them instead of sticking it out for the duration of the contract they signed.

  38. Pauline Elliott says

    Hi I have come accross this blog while trying to find some information on earning in Turkey via renting out a spare room to holiday makers on a B&B basis. A few people have advised that this is not permissible for British ex pats and could result in deportation. If British people can rent out appartments or villas for profit here why is it so different from renting out a spare room. I appreciate there are taxes which I would expect to pay but as I would not be doing a “job” that could be done by a Turkish citizen I dont understand why it is not permissible.
    Can anybody throw light on this subject please your information and advice would be appreciated.

  39. says

    Hi Pauline, I am 99% certain that you would not be deported. Renting out a spare room is not illegal and you do not need a work permit for it. If you do not pay the tax then you could be charged with tax avoidance, however there is a threshold of how much you can earn before you start paying tax and many British holiday makers do not even make that threshold. If you are in Altinkum, drop into the tax office as they used to have leaflets written in English that explain the tax procedure.
    Natalie wrote about..Crime in Turkey – Comparing It With The UK

  40. Afaq says

    Hi Natalie,

    After reading this blog I like to ask you
    > I am coming to Turkey for 90 days visit visa if I marry a Turkish women (love her honestly) and want to live my rest of life as Turkish citizen and work in Turkey………
    I am very honest about my plan what your advice to succeed in my planning.

    • says

      Hi Afaq, Even if you marry a Turkish person this still does not legally entitle you to work. You will have to wait three years for your Turkish citizenship to come through and then you can work legally. Before that period, you will need to gain a work permit. Also until the citzenship comes through, you will need to stay in the country legally and this can be done by taking out a residents visa.

      • shane says

        Hi , very interesting information from a wide range of viewpoints. I am curious about the staying in turkey for at least 3 years prior to citizenship part.
        Can you hold dual nationality, one being turkish ?
        and, do you need to physically be in the country non stop (without leaving) for a minimum of three years while the citizenship comes through ( visa’s and permits as a given).
        essentially I am trying to establish if I would be able to aquire citizenship whilst spending time both in and out of the country, being married to my partner who is turkish and running my business outside of the country ?

        Your thoughts would be sincerely appreciated.

        Thx S.

        • says

          Hi Shane,

          You can hold dual nationality, however I think Americans may have problem with that. I heard that Americans are asked to give up their USA passport if they take Turkish citizenship. Not entirely sure if that is true so you would need to check it out.

          There was also no restrictions on how many times, I could leave the country. This changes if you apply for citizenship on the basis of residency and not marriage.

          • says

            Americans who apply for and get Turkish citizenship keep their US citizenship also. Dual is “allowed.”

  41. Afaq says

    Thanks for your advise Natalie,
    You are amazing God bless you

  42. karen wilkinson says

    Pauline – I am interested if you are renting out a spare room, where in turkey are you?

  43. Ash says

    Hi Nat.
    Great blog, whether people agree or disagree it has definitely stirred opinions.

    I was hoping to ask some advice. My Partner and I are toying with spending a year or so in turkey before settling down. Her ~UK job only requires a telephone line and an Internet connection. I have an opportunity to work remotely myself for a UK based firm.

    Would we still need working visas as these are not Turkish jobs? We want to do everything above board regarding tax codes, residencies etc. No point living in paradise if you are looking over your shoulder every 5 minutes!!

    Thanks in advance, been struggling to find someone who can shed light in this particular instance.


    • Leigh says

      Hello Ash —
      I’m wondering what you found out. My husband is joining me for my year-long dissertation research in Turkey and hopes to continue working remotely for his US-based company. We also aren’t sure if he’ll need official approval, to pay taxes, etc. (We’ll have long-term visas and a residence permit.) Any discoveries?
      I hope everything worked out! (If I find any more info, I’ll pass it along.)

  44. says

    Hi Ash, Your situation is a very grey area in Turkey as the aspect of making money remotely is still a new concept. Neither you or your partner would be eligible to apply for a working permit as your employers are not Turkish.

    In other cases, the person would need to gain a status of being self employed however both of you will be working for companies that are based in another country so you are not self employed.

    I am 95% certain that you would not be breaking any laws but I am not sure of tax agreements etc.

    If you want to check there is an excellent Turkish solicitor based in London called Burcu. She works for London Legal International and I am 100% certain that she would be able to give you the correct advice. . Sorry I could not help you further.
    Natalie wrote about..Altinkum Boat Trips – A Lazy Day Cruising

    • Jackie says

      What a great blog!

      Hello Leigh! Have you been able to find any information about working remotely (via internet) in Turkey?


  45. denika says

    hi …im living in ireland and have just finished all my exams! and really dont want to stay here , would love to just move to turkey i know theres not a hope of that but just wondering what anyone would advise,? were to start or what i should start to study so that when i have all my work done i might have a chance of starting a life over there ?

  46. Naeem says

    I am interesting for doing the job in Turkey, I’m having to master degree of MCS and MBA and having experience of Office as well as Teaching. So how can get the work permit in Turkey. Thanks

    Waiting for Reply

    • says

      Naeem, First of all you need to find a teaching job and then your employers will help you to apply for the work permit. You can not do it without them as work permits are not given generally but for specific jobs

  47. Kelly says

    Hi natalie, just looking for a bit of advice. I’m looking to move to Turkey next year. My partner is from Turkey and not keen on moving to England, and after 3 years we’ve had enough of long distance and want to settle down together. In the UK I am a hairdresser, I am aware that a Turk can easily do this job but I was wondering if maybe in a holiday resort I could find a hairdressing job in a salon that caters for English tourists? I am also qualified to teach hairdressing, would this be of any help, eg a job teachin as English hairdressing training is one of the best in the world? Or could this qualification be of any use to me to teach English, as it is a qualification to teach? I know I’m clutching at straws a little bit but we can’t afford for me to come to Turkey and not work. If it does come to that and I can’t get a work permit for anything then after living in Turkey for 3 years I would be able to apply for Turkish Citizenship and be granted a work permit, is this correct, and would it make any difference applying for citizenship that my partner is Kurdish? Sorry for all the questions, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Kelly

  48. says

    Hi Kelly,

    Thanks for your comment. In a holiday resort, you would probably be able to find a job in a salon however the work permit probably would not come through.

    To teach hairdressing, you would have to research some of the Turkish companies and approach them to find out whether they would be interested. I could not say whether there is a market for it, however it is worth a try.

    Another option would be to settle in a resort with a large ex-pat community and do mobile hairdressing. Technically off the books but you could build yourself up a good customer base that way.

    For Turkish citizenship, you are allowed to apply for it after three years of marriage. If you apply for it on the basis of residency, this is five years. Once you get Turkish citizenship, you do not have to apply for a work permit as you automatically gain the right to work. No problems either if your partner is Kurdish. My husband is Kurdish and this never featured once or posed a problem in my application.

    Hope that helps. if you have any more questions. Just let me know.
    Natalie wrote about..Sacrificing a Goat for Kurban Bayram

  49. nancy says

    I was recently employed by a british holiday company to work in turkey as a kids club rep. However my visa stated I was a tour representative. There was a spot check while I was there and I had to go to the police station and state that I did not work with children. Was I working illegally?

    • says

      Hi Nancy, your visa would not state that you are a tour rep. Only your working permit would so you were not working illegally but probably within the restrictions of the working permit, child care was maybe not allowed.

  50. Hannah says

    Hi Natalie
    I have read your posts with interest, as I am looking to move to Turkey in the next couple of years. My partner is Turkish, and runs his own bar. He is under the impression that once we get married (we would do so as soon as I moved there), I would be able to work for him in his bar. Do you know if this is possible? It is not a dealbreaker to me moving there, I just think I would be bored if I wasn’t able to work!
    Thank you,

    • says

      Hi Hannah, Unfortunately getting married does not automatically entitle you to the same rights as a Turkish citizen either in the case of working legally or in the event that you get divorced within three years.

      Three years after getting married, you will be entitled to apply for a kimlik which is your Turkish citizenship. Until you get that, you will still be treated as a foreigner and will need to apply for a residency permit and a working permit.

      After I married a Turk, I assumed that I would be working legally and it was a spot visit by the police that informed me otherwise. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.
      Natalie wrote about..From Expat Blogger To Published Author : How He Did it

      • Hannah says

        Hi Natalie,

        Thanks for your response. I know that I am not automatically entitled to work just because I am married to a Turk, but I thought different rules applied if was working for him – i.e. me helping him out in his bar. Is this not the case? I wouldn’t want to be working anywhere else, just for him.


        • says

          Same rules apply even if you are just helping your husband out. You could say you are not receiving a wage for it. It would then depend on whether the authorities wanted to be ar****** and really enforce rules. TBH – If it was me, I would take the chance as if your future husband is a business owner, nine times out of ten, these things can be worked out because you will be his wife which gives greater weight to the situation.
          Natalie wrote about..The Sufi Mystic Experience and Rumi

  51. Ebuka says

    Hi Natalie, i am Livestock Development Officer and i want to work in Turkey. What should i do as a foriegner?

    • says

      First you need to find a company that will offer you a job. Once you have that then they should apply for your residency and work permit visa.

  52. Ngoasong says

    Hi , i find this very interesting. I intend to study my Master degree in Turkey,can i find a job easily while going to school in Turkey to take care of my basic needs.

    • says

      You can probably find a job easy enough however the key is whether you will be working legally. Turkey is really going to be clamping down on illegal workers this year and if caught you can face deportation

  53. unecoquette says

    Hi Natalie–

    Over the past 2 weeks, a series of strange things happened.

    1) My boss let me go without warning or explanation.
    2) That boss got fired before giving me my salary.
    3) New management took over.

    I have a work visa for this company and it doesn’t expire until July. Is there any legal structure in place that I could use to blackmail the new management (who probably do not know I have a work visa for their company) in order to get paid?

    This is a strange situation, and any input from anywhere would be great.


  54. Jesska says

    Hey all! Hoping someone can help me!! I am looking at buying in to my turkish partners business in Istanbul. What kind of visa do I need to do this? I would prefer not to get a working visa as I do not plan on working there. I am shortly applying for a resident permit. Can I purchase a business on this permit without any problems?!

    • Nat says

      Hi Jesska, If you do not plan on working the business then you should not need any visa at all. You can also purchase on a residency visa. For legal advice I would suggest contacting Burcu at London Legal international. She specialises in business law in Turkey

  55. cele says

    hi natalie

    i am planning to go to Turkey and search a job there. What s the best thing to do? what visa should i take?
    I am currently workin in Dubai as a sales administrator/coordinator.



    • says

      Hi Cele, AS stated in the post, you need to find a job first. Once you have that job, then you can apply for a residency visa and working permit

  56. uzaer says

    Natalie, you have been answering most of the question raised by many … very successfully, and I hope you con answer me as well.

    I am a Teacher, teaching Accounts & Business to O & A Levels. I am looking for my placement in Turkey.

    I am from Pakistan and presently Teaching in Qatar.

    Can you guide me in this connection?

    Uzaer Khan

    • says

      Uzaer, you need to find a teachers association to help you. There are many that deal with foreign applicants. They will help you to gain a working permit and also a placement

  57. Kaycee says

    Hello Natalie,

    Great read. I’m from the Caribbean and i’m applying for a scholarship to study in Izmir this year. Your blogs have been very informative. Do you know if it’s difficult for international students to find work in Turkey (specifically Izmir). Will i only be able to get a job on campus? I wont mind having a bar job over the summer vacations (ill be studying for 4 years)…though you’ve pointed out these are a bit difficult to land. Also would it be difficult as an Afro-Caribbean female finding a job?


    • says

      Hi Kaycee – These are all things that you need to ask your scholarship leaders as they will have more experience. It is difficult for anyone to land a job though so you should ensure you have some savings set by as well.

  58. Paula says

    Hi there, such an interesting read ;-).. I am thinking about teaching Zumba in Turkey, do u think it would be better 2 be employed by someone or for me 2 go self-employed (which I would prefer) and where would I start with the self-employment option, thanks in advance for ur time and help, appreciate it 😉

    • says

      Paula, obviously being employed by someone means you would need a work permit. To be self employed, there are certain rules regarding employment of Turks etc. Considering the serious aspect of what you want to do, you must seek legal advice. For advice on self employment in Turkey, I recommend a company called London Legal International. They are based in London

  59. Sam says

    Good Day Natalie,

    As i read through your comments that you gained the citizenship.

    What i need to know plz, is it possible to or is there a way to stay in and out of Turkey and achieve the 5 years residence.

    My info tells that i have to stay 5 years and not go out just for 6 months in total during the 5 years.

    Your kind reply will be appreciated.

    • says

      Hi sam, That is the same as what I have heard. Also important is to always use residency visa and never go back to a tourist visa. The rules are changing all the time so double check again when your 5 years residence is up

  60. emad says

    hi there
    i like to work in turkey for a year ,my question is : shall i search unskilled job on internet or it’s better idea to travel there and search inside turkey. i did search many sites already to find job but it wasn’t successfull,is there any job centre in istanbul for searching job? many thanks

    • says

      Emad – The changes of getting an unskilled job and working legally with a permit are very slim – If you get caught, you face deportation and a fine. If you do not have a trade, I would look elsewhere for work

  61. Monty says

    Hi Natalie, I like the discussion and comments going on here along with your original post, thanks.
    Do you think having a beard (religious) can pose problems and hinder my finding work in Turkey? Also, I being a skilled (IT) and experienced person can definitely generate offers from companies however I doubt that they will sponsor for a visa or a work permit. So my second question is similar to emad. Would it be better if I go on a visit visa and apply in person?
    Much thanks.

    • says

      I am sure you will find a beard will not hamper your chances of finding a job but it is generally considered that a clean shaven man looks more professional. If you are a skilled It person and have a second language then I am sure you will find a company to sponsor you. Many companies now are international and a second language comes in handy

  62. Sarah says

    Hi Natalie
    Very interesting blog, been to icmeler a few times and totally fell in love with it! I’ve done a ticketing course to be a rep, and travel and tourism level 2 c&g. I am 38, would I be too old at 43 when my son goes to uni, to rep, I’m In good shape and young looking and educated

    • says

      Hi Sara, you are not too old at 43 but being a rep is very demanding hours. I did the job for five years and would not recommend it to anyone. IMO, it is slave labour!! If you find a good company, then go for it but companies like Thomson and Thomas Cook want too many hours from their reps.

  63. Nelly says

    I was wondering if any one knew about changing job and residency details. I was working for a UK company in Turkey on a tour opperator visa. The company paid for my work visa and residency permit and I still have 6 months left on my visa. I have now resigned and the company I worked for has also notified the authorities that i no longer work for them. I have six months left on my visa and want to stay in turkey and work if possible. Does anyone know what I need to do? I cannot seem to find the rules and regulations regarding changes.

    • says

      AS far as I know Nelly, you can stay in Turkey but if you are going to work legally, your new employer will have to apply for a new work visa. Since I wrote this article, getting visas seems to be a lot easier. The best place to ask for exact clarification is the foreigners department at your local Turkish police station.
      Natalie wrote about..Brilliant Beekeeping : How The Turks Make Sweet, Golden Honey

  64. kimberley says

    Hi Natalie
    I am self-employed. I have my own at home Spa and have thought about moving it and Turkey was one of the places. My services are part of the beauty industry and was wondering if the process would be the same. I’m not taking a job but providing services? I know visas in Turkey have become easier recently.

    • says

      Hi Kimberley, in that case, you need to look into being self employed in Turkey which as a foreigner you can do. I know quite a few expats who do their business from their home ie hairdressing and they have just kept a low profile and not gone down the self employed route as there are certain conditions that apply.
      Natalie wrote about..Göcek –Sophistication that is Not Part of My World

  65. Ali says

    Hi Natalie
    Liked your blog and the way you try to help people.

    As a Turkish Cypriot (degree in Biz) what do you think my chances are of finding any decent job? and what are the best areas in Turkey to find a job?
    What do you think is the best way for me to go searching?

    So far I always lived in the UK
    Thanks so much :)

    • says

      Hi Ali, Do you have your Turkish citizenship? If not, can you apply for it as it will make job hunting so much easier. Other than that, if you speak Turkish, you can pick up a job in one of the seaside resorts in the summer but the hours are long and the pay is not that good
      Natalie wrote about..Kümbet Mosque, aka The Church of 12 Apostles

  66. Mehtap says

    Hi All,

    It is so good that people share their experinces here, bravo Natalie Sayin :)

    The ministry of employment has a website for info in different languages:

    About the work visa, the government is trying to develop the procedures plus the fees are decreased. I am sure, it will be a lot less easier to have work and other visas.

    I advise you to contact the professionals like police, lawyers and the related department about the questions for work, residence permit etc.

    good luck all!


  67. annemarie says

    do i need a work permit to give private english lessons

    • says

      If this case, I think you would be classed as self employed as to apply for a work permit, you have to be working for someone. If I was you, I would build myself up a good customer base, before thinking of going down the self employed official route
      Natalie wrote about..Getting to Know the Cuisine of Turkey

  68. annemarie says

    Hi Natalie, thanks for the reply, although I am a little unsure what you mean. Do you mean that i can give private english lessons without a work permit? If i am self employed does that mean i dont need a work permit. thnks for your help. Your blogs are interesting and helpful. It is amazing how many people get ipset about some of your replies which, I think are well balanced

    • says

      I think you should get yourself a solid customer base, before thinking about going down the self employed route. There are different ways of doing it, so you would need to confirm the exact one with a lawyer

      What I am trying to say is if I were you, give it a go first, you are not going to be in a bar or restaurant. You are not taking employment away from other Turkish people as English speaking people are preferred to teach English, so the heat is not going to be on you. If it then turns out that you gain so much of an income, look at making it legal but very often the ex-pats who give out English lessons just end up doing it for pin money. You don’t want that pin money to be eaten up with tax and costs of being self employed or applying for work permits.

      Come to Turkey and give it a go first and then if you want to make it legal, seek the advice from a professional such as a lawyer.

      Glad you like the blog, and sometimes the answers amaze me as well! :)
      Natalie wrote about..Getting to Know the Cuisine of Turkey

  69. Thea says

    heya, i am going on holidays to Turkey, Olu Deniz next year with my friends but i want to stay out there for the summer. would i be able to get a summer job out there?

  70. annemarie says

    Hi, thanks again and thank you for clarifying your answer it is very helpful. I dont think people realise how fortunate we are tohave someone like you who is prepared to give their time and knowledge to help others. I think that living in someone elses country and expecting it to be like your own is a recipe for disaster. People who come to turkey come because is is so different to their own and they should celebrate that difference and learn to live with it. thanks again Natalie

    • says

      You are very welcome Annemarie – Very true about not expecting Turkey to be like your own country. Open your mind and eyes, and it can infact turn out to be an amazing country to live in, even though you have to adapt to changes.
      Natalie wrote about..St. Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul

  71. Jacob james says

    Hello Natalie,thank you for your helpful words.God bless you for given and sharing your time and knowlegde .am an international student from west africa.I been given a student visa to study hotel management in ozyegin universty,istanbul.I will be coming to turkey on 1st of september,2012.the money I have with me can only cover my tuition fee and maybe little remains to takecare of accomodation/feeding.I am a professional launderer/presser/drycleaner.I would like to offer home services inother to raise money to support my studies and living expenses but right now I really need your advice bcus am so afraid that if am not allowed to work the I might not be able to finance my study and stay.thank you madam

    • says

      Hi Jacob, is there a student body you can talk to at the University you will study at? I am sure you will gain better advice from them on how to raise money for living expenses. They may also be able to tell you other ways you can raise money other than working because I am really not sure where the law stands for foreign students
      Natalie wrote about..Getting to Know the Cuisine of Turkey

  72. says

    Hi Natalie

    Firstly, thanks for a highly informative blog. Not sure how you manage to remain calm when answering some of the more belligerent contributors, but you seem to pull it off admirably!

    My question is apparently a fairly simple one. but as usual, we have received wildly conflicting opinions and I’m hoping you might be able to give a sensible and knowledgeable answer!

    My wife and I are currently based in the UK and own four holiday rental apartments in a small block in Kalkan on the Med coast. We pay all our taxes etc via our Turkish accountant and we currently use the services of a local company to manage the apartments; ie, cleaning pool maintenance etc. However, we are now considering coming to live in Turkey full time, living in one of the apartments and continuing to let the others out as holiday rentals – but we’d like to save money by doing the cleaning and pool maintenance etc ourselves. Do you think this would be a problem? Obviously we will be applying for residency visas – but would we need work permits (and if so, would we be likely to actually get them)?.

    As I mentioned earlier,, we have asked several people but have received differing opinions. If you could help, that would be greatly appreciated.

    • says

      Hi Martyn, Welcome to my blog and like you like it.

      Your question is an interesting one but I ask that you do not take my answer as gospel because I am not entirely sure.

      Personally myself I would be mad at having to get a work permit to clean my own apartments. Seems rather ironic.

      When you say pool maintenance, does each apartments have their own pool? If so, then once again, I would find it crazy that I need a work permit, however if the pool is shared with other apartments owners, then you are moving into a whole different ballgame.

      The other day, I was reviewing the website of work permits for foreigners and there is a new section for foreigners who work independently. I have not heard of that before and wonder if your situation would come under that If it does, they are stating that you would need to have been in Turkey for five years

      If there is no way around the five year bracket, then I would imagine you would have to go down the self employed route.

      Can you speak to your accountant first and enquire as to whether the income gained from cleaning can be taken into account via him?

      There is a contact form on the official site for foreigners and work permits. You could send them an email in English as I did the other day and received a reply back in English. Failing that, perhaps your accountant could ring one of the numbers and enquire on your behalf

      Sorry, I could not be of further help but when it comes to the Turkish government and their wild methods, I would feel uneasy at answering your question because it is so unique.
      Natalie wrote about..The Simplicity of Simena and My Desire to Return

  73. Melissa says

    Hi Natalie,

    I am looking to go to Kusadasi in Turkey next year and work either as a lifegueard or entertainment staff in a hotel. I am just wondering do you know/think it would be better to apply to a hotel directly for a position or to go through an agency. If you think the agency route is best are there any you could recommend? I have found one called marmaris recruitment but am afraid of scam websites.
    Any help would be much appreciated :)

    • says

      Hi Melissa, the chance of you getting a job as a lifeguard or entertainment staff is very slim. The chance of you getting one of these jobs with a work permit is even less.

      The best chance (although still slim) is to apply via one of the big companies like TUI to work in their all inclusive hotel. TUI are in Aqua Fantasy and they will provide work permits etc.
      Natalie wrote about..A Honeymoon in Turkey – Ali and Andrew Tell Their Story

  74. Matija says

    Dear Natalie

    What are my chances as an artist, and also designer, of settling in Turkey?. I am looking to move out there in about a year.

    I am ready to spend there 5+ years,maybe even a lifetime. I am really keen on moving out there, because I just think it’s perfect place for me.

    After reading some of the comments here, I got a little bit worried. I didn’t know it could be so difficult.

    I started doing research now, a year before I board a plane to Turkey. I am adaptable, willing to learn the language, and blend with the rest of turkish society.

    I know Turkey is one the major art centre on the planet, but what are my chances there, of succeeding as a foreign artist? Could you advise me what sort of people I should contact?

    I am also quite confused with all these permits I would need there.Is it really that hard to get residency and other permits?

    Thank You.

      • Matija says

        Hi Natalie

        But if I’m working for myself, without a work permit, isn’t that like freelancing ,which is illegal?
        Who do I get my working permit from then, if I’m working for myself?

        Thanks for that link you sent :)


  75. Vic says

    Hi Natalie,

    I really appreciate you answering all the questions here. I would be most grateful if you could answer mine as well, which is the following: could I enter Turkey on a tourist visa, get a residency permit, renew the residency permit each year until I’ve resided in Turkey for five years, and then claim citizenship (all while limiting my time outside Turkey to under six months)?



  76. Matija says

    Hi Natalie

    What if I work as a private English teacher by getting students from the internet?Do I need any sort of paperwork then?

    • says

      Not sure on that one Matija – every teacher I know who gets pupils from the internet does not declare it because they simply do not make enough money. Most pupils want to attend a school where they will get a certificate, they then turn to the teachers for extra teaching outside of their lessons.

      I am sure you need some kind of paperwork to show you are qualified though. Same as a translator, not everyone can be a translator. They have to sit an exam first. You are better off asking this question to an organization who deals with teachers overseas.
      Natalie wrote about..The Colourful Wooden Mosque of Maral

  77. Loz says

    Hi, my partner is thinking of going into partnership with an English lady who has a bar in Turkey. Can he legally do that?? Does he need some sort of Visa?? He doesnt want to work there just be a partner. Thanks

  78. Adam says

    Since a young age I have always traveled to Turkey (being half Turkish) to see family and to relax on the beach. From my travels and experiences near Bodrum/ Altinkum – western side, this is what I have noticed.

    Turkey is still a developing country that has a huge gap between the rich and poor. A lot of the tourist workers are from farming villages or near from the Eastern side of Turkey where the majority of the Kurdish live.

    Most Turkish people only hire Turkish nationals at bar/ hotels because the salary is cheap, the workers are flexible (fire at anytime) and the hours are long. It is very rare for them to hire Brits due to work permits.

    For hotels, most shifts start from 5 in the morning till 1 in the morning, making a mere 10 pounds a day roughly. Workers get a free room to share with other workers and eat for free. So its like a summer camp where they work non stop, chat to English girls and brush up their English.

    For bars, its more of a little group that living together for 4 months throughout the summer season. They practice dances, network with girls and live on the site for most of the days.

    I think the best bet would be property development/renting or sign a contract as an English teacher with a private university or transfer through your company, if they have a branch in Turkey (most likely banks etc).

    Hope this helps

  79. manu says

    hi , natalie … cld u plz help me to know 1 thing ..? i am a prfsnl dj in my cntry ist easy to get job in turkey in my djing proffession ?

    • says

      No Manu, it is not. There are plenty of Turkish people who want the job first.

      • manu says

        ok natalie thank u for u r advse …lv u tc…

      • Karim Ali says

        Hello, Natilie….I m Ali from Pakistan….I want to visit your country…and i want to setlle here…4 my better future…..I am a graduate here…and know computer very well….and i have 5 years experience as computer teacher and computer designer and composer….so what are my chances of job in Turkey….could you plz tell me…….THANKS………..

          • Karim Ali says

            THANKS………………………….BE HAPPY

        • Turk living in USA says

          Ali, what is a computer teacher and computer designer and composer?
          do you compose computers?
          do you design computers?
          Then go get a job with Microsoft, Intel, or Apple

  80. Alex says

    Hello Natalie,

    A Turkish company made me an offer (by a recruiting company in Germany) with a temporary contract 4 months as a consultant, I believe as freelancer, I don’t have the contract yet, but they seems to be in a hurry. The payment is very good but I don’t know what to do, to accept or not… Please give me an advice. Thank you very much.

    • Turk living in USA says

      What type of consulting is that?

      Accept it. Obviously you do not have another job.
      If you do not like it you can just go back to Germany in a couple of hours. Do not be scared of taking your chances. Just ask for the client you will be working for. You never know you may get a direct job later on.

      Good luck

  81. says

    Hi Alex, it is hard for me to give advice when I know nothing about you the job or the company. When you say they seem to be in a hurry, they are not asking for you to send money for work permits are they? I ask as there is one scam going around at the moment.
    Natalie wrote about..Photo Of The Ataturk Pavilion in Trabzon

  82. bill says


    I got offered a job teaching English with the Wall Street Institute branch in Ankara. They want me to go on a tourist visa and get me a work visa once there. Should I trust them?

  83. Ahmed says

    Hi Natalie,

    Hope you are fine this is Ahmed I am originally from India currently working in Dubai actually I am planning to move to Istanbul in April.

    I am a Travel Consultant possesing more than 6 years of experience what are the chances of me getting a job in Istanbul.


    • says

      You speak English so that is a plus point. If you can prove to the travel companies that there is a reason to employ you over a Turk, your chances are average. Isn’t there any India or Dubai companies operating in Turkey and you can try to apply for a job with them first?
      Natalie wrote about..Photo Of The Ataturk Pavilion in Trabzon

  84. Benga says

    Good afternoon.
    Natalie u are doing a great job here.
    I have some few questions.

    I am Nigerian my wife is Russian and we have a daughter. We visited Turkey April this year and we liked it so much that we are now thinking of a possible relocation.
    my ultimate fear is that it might be very difficult getting a job.
    we are both Economist-Managers by profession and we speak Russian, English and currently taking Turkish lessons.
    Is it really that difficult securing a working permit even if you have a valid residence permit?

    • says

      Hi Benga, even if you have a valid residence permit, it does not automatically mean that you will get a working permit. First of all, you have to secure the job first and then apply for the permit.

      I am not sure what an economist manager does but try searching for Russian or Nigerian companies based in Turkey that will employ you. After that, look at the Turkish companies.

      It is very hard to get a job and working permit as a foreigner but it has been done and in certain sectors like holiday reps, it is easy.

  85. Rasya says

    Hi, thanks for your blog, it is really very usefull, as it is really good to know different expiriences. Pesonally I had been graduated form turkish institute and my parents work at gov. education for more than 10 years in Turkey. From what I have seen in Turkey-I dont know any foreigner that could acquire work permit in Turkey without starting to work. Even for state university being a professor, my father had to come here with touristic visa, sign contract and wait for more than a year.I totally agree that Yabanci Subesi is a total mess, and you will never know the truth there. Also for me, being a legal student, I had to wait my residence permit from Ankara for around 1 year (in 2000, maybe it is better now). The awfull thing also is that there was no any document saying that you are waiting for a residence, just stay and wait. So you are noy able to move out from the country. I totally agree for seasonal/summer jobs, that probability to have it in a legal way for foreigner is zero. I think the main problem is that many people visit Turkey on summer holidays, spend their time in touristic places and villages, and it seems for them totally fantasctic. However they never have seen what is a real daily life for people in Turkey. Nobody says it is bad, it is as in any other place, with its own specific. Also people should understand that T
    tourism sector has very High priority for Turkish State, as it is bringing big turnover, and even the prices they pay in tours are very different from real. About the rights to live and to work-my dad owns a house in Turkey, however it doesnt give him a right to have residence without working. The only legal way is to show that you have where to live + to pay certain amount of money every year. Completely same situation for children above 18, if you want to have residence and have parents working in Turkey, or you should be student there otherwise parents should sign for you + you need to pay yearly as any adult. Plus definately I know, even having residence type I mentioned above, doesnt give you any working right. The turkish State presumes you are investing your money in economy, without taking something from this economy.

    • says

      Hi Rasya, yes you are right. An offer of employment must first be secured before any work permit is given and having residence does not automatically entitle you either. Thanks for telling us your experience. Sounds like it has not been easy for you either

  86. Benga says

    Thanks a lot Natalie & Rasya . I really appreciate your comments and time spent.
    We are really at a point of taking a difficult decision and each and every one of your comments and advises means a lot us.
    You said it all that visiting Turkey as a foreigner is never the same as living and working there.

    I currently work in a Turkish company in Nigeria and i have lots of Turkish friends but the simple fact is that they never tell you the truth all they tell you is that everything is fine and perfect. So that’s why i actually came up here to seek the opinion of an expatriate living in Turkey.
    I lived in Moscow for 7 good years so also know what it means living in a country as a foreigner.
    Presently we are doing very good I love my job and I don’t think I can even find a better one in Turkey. The only problem is that I hate the fact that myself and my family are not living in a civilized society and I’d certainly not want my lovely daughter grow up in this kind of community
    Istanbul is a beautiful city and costs of properties are quite cheap compared to Moscow, Europe and even Nigeria. In fact we were already planning to buy a flat in Istanbul by December but now I’m giving it a second thought. I needed your advises that’s why I’m actually why am on this blog. I told my wife it’s not so easy the way she thought.
    I appreciate your comments. Thanks a million times.

    • says

      You are welcome Benga – glad to help. Sounds like you have some difficult decisions to make. It is not easy to make the move if you are relying on getting a job here, but it can be done. Shop around and speak to other people who work in your trade. Good luck and let us know what you decide.
      Natalie wrote about..The Gorgeous Ayder Plateau of North East Turkey

  87. Bassam Ka says

    Thanks for the useful blog.
    i have a tiny question.

    i am Syrian, and i am planning to move and work in Istanbul legally, and not as a refugee.

    i am currently looking for a job, but i am just concerned about the possibility of having obstacles obtaining a work permit/ visa.

    is it still hard to obtain those?

    cuz i heard there’s a new labor law that ease things up.

  88. Ruby says

    Hi, I love Turkey and every time I come back from a holiday I am more sure that I want to live there. I have an online business and don’t know where that would put me with a work visa? Since I’d not be seeking employment and would be working from home, how does that all play out?

    • says

      Hi Ruby, I was told previously that you would have to go down the self employment route however I can not guarantee how accurate that information is.

  89. David Sleith says

    I have moved to Turkey with my family inclusive of wife and 2 girls (now 3 as we had a new arrival in July). I wish to start a company legitimately, and am thinking of setting up a Limited company. Method and problems?

    • says

      David – I really would be hesitant at giving you advice on how to set up the company. For this, you really need to see a lawyer or consultant firm. The only problem should be the normal red tape and bureaucracy but they are eventually overcome

  90. David Sleith says

    OK thanks Natalie. The intention was to see a lawyer in any case, just wondered if you had any 1st hand knowledge.
    Like the site by the way.

  91. Bilal Khan says

    hello Natalie
    It is too sad now because you did not publish my question.
    it was so simple and related to your discussion and quite informative.
    Is there any short cut to run business in turkey?
    If some one comes in turkey for study purpose and later own during study period he/she owns a small business ( a shop or restaurant worth USD 50000). He continues paying taxes…will it possible for him to get work visa…
    on the other hand, if a look at requirements of FDI, it is quite impossible and red tapped. I hope the way I mentioned above should be the shortest for getting work visa in Turkey.

    Please reply!

    • says

      Hi Bilal, A person can own a business and get a work permit however there is strict criteria ie you have to employ something like five Turkish people before you can work in it. There is no shortcut and for specific advice you really should seek the advice of a lawyer

  92. midou says

    To get a job in turkey or any other part in the world is getting hard day after day, that why I think that if you can create the difference from other candidates to be a special you will have lot of chances.
    For example many Turkish companies are getting to exports and when we say foreign trade it means languages, I actually can speak 4 languages English Turkish French and Arabic and I believe that I can find a job easily in turkey I also have a good experience in the field.
    So I guess that it will be hard to find a profile like me because I know that it’s hard to find a Turkish citizen who speaks more that 2languages, with a strong experience in Middle East and African market, mainly that most of Turkish companies are working hard to get a position abroad.

  93. leila says

    Hello, I was wondering about how Turkish citizens would react to foreign people working in hotels. Such as bar staff or even an entertainment team. I’ve seen people of different cultures work in the entertainment team such as a Ukrainian woman and I heard they only stay for 6 months and then move on. Is this possible?

  94. Annette says

    Hi Natalie

    Have you heard about the Turkish government’s intention to hire 40 000 foreign English teachers over the next 4 years?

    I’d like to know if you could recommend a reputable agency through which I can apply for a position?


    • says

      Hi Annette, Apologies for the late reply. I did read something about it a while ago but since then have heard nothing else. I have no experience with any of the teaching agencies so can not recommend one but will ask around and post the name here if I find one

  95. Trinity michelle says

    my sister was has been offered a job at a school called I??kkent. it’s a coeducational K-12 school. have you heard of this school and if so is this a good school. She will teach English. do you think they will give her a work permit?

  96. Rocky says

    I have been offered a job working with an oil company out of Diyarbakir. Being an American and having never even been out of the US I was wondering if anyone can help me out on what I need to prepare for in coming to Turkey. Other than what little I can find online I am completely naive on what to expect. Please help!

    • says

      Hi Rocky, Diyarbakir is in the south east and it is very cultural if you compare it to the west coast of Turkey. Last year, I went to the cities of Mardin, Urfa and Gaziantep which are all the same region so keep following for stories like that. It is going to be a big change to your system if you have never been out of the US.

      They are more conservative and religious in that area. For example, you will not see women in bars drinking. A lot of the women will also be wearing head scarves. You also won’t find many foreigners there as Diyarbakir does not receive tourism. These articles will give a brief glimpse of what it is like

      If you can keep an open mind and be prepared for change, then it will be a great experience for you to witness a totally different culture and traditions. I am assuming that the company will also brief you and give you advice as it is a big lifestyle change
      Natalie wrote about..The Man Who Tattooed Himself For Turkey

  97. loic says

    i am a foreigner student
    i live in gaziantep and lately i have had some financial problems i lend an amount of money to one of my friend but now he is nowhere to be found and i need money for my school fees i know its ackward to tell that here but the only solution that i came up with is to to search for a part time job and i noticed that you have some experience on that field but i do not know in which field i do have to search because i dont have any expertise in the work domain so if you could give me some advise it would be nice
    p.s:i do speack french fluently and my english is not that bad but my turkish still sucks :/

  98. Tunslaw says

    Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for your input, am planing to go to turkey with student visa i had gotten the necessary document from the school. so my question is can i use the student visa to work and going to school as well?

    • Nathanial Washburn says

      If you can speak english reasonably well and look white enough, it’ll be easy to get a job teaching english.

      If you have a passport from a EU country, USA, UK, AUS, NZ then it’ll be even easier.

  99. Arzu says

    Hi Natalie I am an Australian with a Turkish Background. My husband is from Adana Turkey.We have just come back from Adana, very different to what I am use to. My husband wont’s to move to Adana for a few years, but I can’t make the move.I have been in childcare for over 20 years, at the moment I am Director of the service I work at. To get to the point Would I be able to open a childcare centre in Adana, but the main language will be in English.

    • says

      Hi Arzu, I am assuming that you could open a childcare centre in Adana but it would be classed as a business in which you are talking a whole different ball game. You would really need advice from a trusted lawyer to provide you with the criteria etc that you must meet
      Natalie wrote about..The Coffee Houses of Gaziantep

    • Nathanial Washburn says

      Many people are doing this stuff under the table.

      Don’t worry, this ISN’T the EU or Germany.

      If you have a service to offer that nobody else does – english daycare center – and you run it out of your home unofficially then you’ll probably be fine.

      The key thing is to have neighbors who won’t mind the noise.

      However, if you’re looking to do this the official way, you’ll have to find a Turkish partner and they’ll have to keep you off the books.

      I’ve worked at a large English school here in Istanbul and our bosses – who’d been living in Turkey for 7, 10 and 20 years – didn’t have work permits but were a very visible part of the official business.

      • says

        Nathanial – would you really advise foreigners to go into business and be kept off the books? Legally that would leave them in a very poor position should things go wrong. I know of foreigners that have done that and when the s*** hit the fan, they were told by their Turkish partners to prove that they owned part of the business.

  100. Dan says

    Hi Natalie
    This blogs great and has alot of useful information in it, thankyou,
    me and partner are thinking of moving out to Istanbul, as my partner is turkish she does not need a visa to work but being english I will, what do you think the chances are of me successfully getting a work visa as a chef? I have looked through the majority of the blog and while I see lots of references to bar and restaurant work it seems to refer more to the front of house not kitchen, we are in the process of contacting several large hotels which we know are international but I was wondering if you knew of any agencies that may be able to help me find work as a chef out there or had any more general advice?

    • says

      Hi Dan, I am sorry I do not know any agencies that can help you. If you struggle to find work before you move out then when you arrive, also take the time to go around and ask smaller establishments. A lot of them are crying out for good chefs but prefer to hire only when they have seen the person.

  101. Hakan says

    Hi Natalie,

    First of all it was a very interesting reading on living and working in Turkey for me as a native Turk. Great job and congratulations? I would like to add something for your foreign readers for a better understanding of Turkey. It may be hopefully helpful in their journeys to live in Turkey. Firstly it should be understood that the business language in Turkey is Turkish, not any other language unlike French in Lebanon and North Africa, English in India, Arabia or Russian in ex-Soviet republics. Except tourism and foreign language teaching related jobs you must know Turkish to have a real job. Just because of that you cannot find Indian computer engineers, Philippino nannies, East European workers, British managers, Italian craftsmen etc in Turkey. If you are young enough or living in Turkey for any reason, think about it. Secondly, it is not easy to find fluently foreign language speaking people in Turkey when it is compared with other countries in EMEA. Although it has been changed for the last ten years with increased numbers of globally operating Turkish companies, the foreign language skills of Turks are remaining very poor. It is of course not about the learning capability of Turks or a kind of hostility to any foreign language, but because of the Turkish market size and lack of any kind of colonized history with an official foreign language. The situation is also same for public officers and lawyers. As a result if you don’t know Turkish please make native Turkish speaking friends sharing similar skills and educational background. They can communicate with public officers in Turkish, understand more easily the legal issues, and it accelerates everything. Another important issue is Turkish society is an eastern type of society which means traditions and networks are much more important. If you speak Turkish or you have a Turkish friend you can consume the benefits of traditionally appropriate behaviors and network. Thirdly please be logical. Turkey is an industrialized country and the biggest 17th economy (in GDP). The generic skill sets like web designing, computer teaching, consulting, and sales management don’t sound meaningfully. Identify yourself with solid skills if you want to find a job in Turkey. Lastly I have a job idea for especially English speaking students in Turkey: being an English teaching part-time nanny for Turkish families. I’m not sure about if it will be legal or not, but not so important, you can find some kind of jobs like that. Last summer I looked for a nanny like that and I hired an Italian student for 3 months, and I will do the same thing also this year. I paid about 2,000 Turkish Liras per month, and I’m sure you can find some other Turks like me. I found that student via Bahcesehir Univerity. Post your advertisements on universities’, coffee shops’ boards, or publish it via social media, or better use your Turkish friend:)

  102. Elizabeth says

    I saw a hairdresser asking about working in turkey. Do you think it unlikely Turkey grants work visa’s for those types of jobs?
    I’m a message therapist, esthetician & a personal trainer. Do you know if work permits are issued for these kinds of jobs?
    Would you need to just come on a tourist visa and apply once in the country?
    The embassy site says you can be deported for applying for a work visa if you’re there on a tourist visa.

  103. Marie says

    Hi Natlie
    I have recently secured an overseas Rep position with Thomas cook and have been advised by TC to take enough money to last 6 weeks, (until first payment, i assume). I was just wondering if you cauld give me some advice on how much roughly to take out on the basis that we will have 1 day off a week, so not much going out drinking, just meals and a bit of spendo really! :)

    Any help would be much appreciated!!
    Thank You

  104. GeyikAvcisi says

    Hello, Yabanc?lar,

    The reason they don’t give out work permits for foreigners… even in cases where they need a “native speaker” is that companies can’t hire a foreigner if they have less than 50 employees.

    The number might be different depending on the company, but that’s the reason plain and simple.

    If it’s a big enough firm or company – like Do?a Koleji – they can hire you, if not, you’re out of luck.

    What I should mention is it doesn’t really matter anyways. Unless you plan on living in Turkey for the rest of your life or a very long time, then you’re only missing out on Social Security, which doesn’t matter because most of the Turks I know aren’t going to rely on that anyway and have opted for private insurance/social security.

    Hope this clears some things up.


    Istanbul, TR

    • says

      It is not 50 Nathaniel, Business owners need to employ five citizens of Turkey for every foreigner. Quote

      ” At the workplace for which work permit is requested, at least five persons who are citizens of the Republic of Turkey must be employed. In case the foreigner requesting work permit is a co-partner of the company, aforementioned condition related to the employment of five persons who are Turkish citizens will be required for the last six months of one-year work permit to be granted by the Ministry. In case of requesting work permit for more than one foreigner at the same workplace, for each foreigner following the first foreigner who is granted a work permit, the condition regarding the employment of five persons who are Turkish citizens will be required individually.”

      If the foreigner has a Turkish kimlik, then they count the same as a Turk would.
      Natalie wrote about..Tips for Planning a Road Trip in Turkey

  105. GeyikAvcisi says

    I recently saw this quote and HAD to respond:

    “Working in Turkey is a minefield that needs to be negotiated with a lot of clever planning and patience.”

    If you’re going to teach english then look no further than craigslist or your local dershane.

    Teachers are coming and going all the time and if you don’t mind putting up with the hours then you can easily get 9 USD per hour for your troubles.

    Getting a teaching job in Turkey isn’t a minefield and it isn’t hard. Hours are low in the summer but that’s about it.

    If you’re not planning on renting a sublet and having roommates, then yes, housing will be your greater minefield.

    Many unscrupulous landlords abound, but that will only be the first of your issues… later. What you have to worry about is finding an affordable place that will rent to foreigners. Also, you might have to sign a contract of up to a year. We live in a far out district and had to pay an emlak fee of 600 TL and a deposit of 1,200, the latter of which we’ll probably never see.

    Understand that if you want your deposit back, you should take precautions and photograph your apartment and have them signed by the landlord – quite a few who are ?erefsiz individuals looking to cash in on your vulnerability and desperation to get an apartment.

  106. Okan says

    Well, not only the legal procedures but also cultural difficulties may turn your life to a hell. With high possibility most of the job offers will be in big cities.People living in cities are not geniune as people of rurals. The challenging life killed all the kindness and turned out them to selfish monsters. Is that something like being civilized or modernized? If you wish to work in Turkey ready to come across with this type of mankind! Plus defensive,considerably nationalist, little boring Turkish people. It will be very fortunate if you can find a place where you will happly work apart from international companies.

  107. says

    Oh thank you for this post! It is an eye opener right when I was homesick and considering to go back to Turkey. We have recently relocated in Tanzania for this same reasons. We had the option to suffer through the immigration and work jungle for my husband in Turkey or come and make a new life in Tanzania. We chose the latter. Reminder of like this when I am not blinded by homesick nostalgia makes me feel glad we did this. The system is not very well written there and it is kind open any immigration officer to interpret it as they see fit. They mostly involve their personal views too. And I can definitely say they favor Americans over any other nationality. Oh well, that chapter is closed for us, I am glad.

    P.S I wish your posts would bear a post mark. It is hard to make out if I am commenting on a obsolete long forgotten post.

  108. Diogo Martins says

    hello people, i read some post and i need some help, i have a good story with a beautifull girl from turkey, she are in Portugal in the last hear and we get in love, when i meet with her also i dont know any english and now i can talk and understan near every thing, but i write little bit bad, :) after i meet this girl every thing change in my life and in this moment i am far of her and i decide run to turkey faind a job and get together again with her, i search for some help to faind a way to faind job and permition to live in turkey, (Izmir), i realy want go there, if someone can halp me is very good, i will write again

  109. Kayla says

    Hi Natalie,

    I’ve been reading this thread for hours! It’s very interesting and answered some of my questions already. I wanna thank everyone for sharing their experiences and knowledge about the subject. And you Natalie, for taking time to help. Though i have doubts if i will get a response because i dont know how old this thread is or when the other comments are posted.

    I’m a Turkish woman and have my own business here. My partner is British. He is working for an national carpet and flooring company in Merchandising and Training department. It’s easier if he moves to Turkey and looks for a job here. But work permit seems very difficult as the employer has to apply for it and as far as i’ve seen, only the big solid companies or firms bother it. I have a few questions:

    *The work permit is not generally but for a spesific job, so does it mean he has to get a new work permit if he gets fired or quits his job here? Does he have to renew his permit every time?

    *If we get married, just being married for 3 years is enough for him to apply for Turkish citizenship? Does he have to live in Turkey during this time? Can he keep his job in UK, work there and come here whenever he wants? That means living mostly in different countries as a married couple for 3 years but seems like that would save us from the hassle of getting a work permit. Is it possible?

    *Again, if we get married does he ALSO need a residency permit to live here with me?

    I hope to get an answer soon! Thanks in advance xxx

    • Nat says

      Hi Kayla,

      The rules regarding work permits are constantly changing all the time. to get up to date information, have a look here

      If you get married, he can gain Turkish citizenship after three years. Until then, he would need a residency visa. He can come and go between the Uk and here as he want but once the application has been made, he will probably get a home surprise visit from the local Jandarma and it would look better if he was here. Also check up on the rules regarding military service if he does go for citizenship.

      Hope that helps. Natalie

      • Kayla says

        Thanks Natalie. Anything you share is helpful :)

        Is the procedure different or easier to get a residency visa for a foreigner if he is married to a Turkish woman? I couldnt find anything about it. Or the same process with just a single British citizen who wants to live in Turkey? How did that work out for you Natalie? Can you please share the process you had after you got married? Did you get married here or in UK? When did you apply for residence visa? After getting married or before that? I’m sorry if it’s too much trouble for you but it’s important to me. You’re a perfect example of a successful marriage with a UK citizen and Turkish citizen. It’s the best to learn from experiences.

        And what do you mean by checking up on the rules regarding military service? Once he is a Turkish citizen, does he have to do military service here? *_*

        Thanks xxx

        • Nat says

          It is the same process as if he was a single British citizen. When I last went for residency, the rules were very relaxed but they have tightened them up now. They also seem to differ from region to region. If you go to the local police station where there is a foreigners department, they can tell you what you need and also give you the application form. After three years of marriage, I got the kimlik and no longer needed the residency.

          We married in Turkey and previously i had been in the country on a residency permit for five years.

          I am not sure if foreign men who get Turkish citizenship, will then have to do military service but I have heard some people say yes. Perhaps your local nufus office can tell you more

  110. Brian says

    There is a loophole in the Turkish employment system for foreigners. If you start up a company and become a shareholder of it you are legally allowed to receive compensation for your time on the board. This means in effect you are paid a salary. If a company wants to employ you all they do is pay your company. This is a completely legit way of working and is actually fairly simple.

  111. manekeniko says

    Hi Natalie,

    I would like to lay out the plan, and if you see any snags ahead I’d appreciate a heads-up.

    I’m a US citizen and the sole operator of a virtual business (advertising copywriting and online marketing). My work can be performed anytime and any place there’s an Internet signal.

    Next winter, I’d like to spend extended time in Istanbul researching the area and Topkapi Palace to write a screenplay about a true historical incident that happened there.

    Do you anticipate any problems with this idea?

    Love your blog, BTW. I follow on Facebook, Twitter the whole nine yards.

    • says

      No problems what so ever – it is exactly what I do – work remotely

      Think it is a great idea and would love to read the final version

      • manekeniko says

        Thanks, Natalie. I’d love to share it with you. I think at this point the world needs a refresher on how important the Ottomans were to civilization. The story would be about this Grand Vizier’s adventure, sort of like “Die Hard” at Topkapi. It’s the most interesting article I have ever read:

        I’m not enjoying my work all that much and would like to branch out and do new things. You also inspired me to begin a travel blog and become a travel writer as well. Ilham için te?ekkür ederim.

        • Nat says

          Now I am even more interested – you are right – that is a fantastic article. Also agree as to why the Ottoman empire is not featured more heavily in schools around the world. Despite the effect they had on history, I had never heard of them till I came to Turkey. congrats on branching out as well – it is a fantastic career to have

  112. Myra says

    Hi natalie!
    I read your blogs quite often abd love how youre so honest about everything!
    I just a question. I am an Interior architect and have good international experience from other cities and now planning to move to istanbul.

    Ive noticed how most companies dont respond via email so i started calling them up and first asking if they accept foreign applicants.
    Most of them say yes but never respond.
    The few who I felt were slightly eager were the ones who I told that I would be travelling to Istanbul soon.

    I just want to know if it more likely to land a job when you physically go from one company to another for live interviews or will the chances remain the same as they are via email? And these are firms who have hired foreigners before.

    • says

      I would go from one company to the other and make sure you speak to the right person. More often than not, it is a case of bad communication.

  113. damon stanley says

    Hi Nathalie,

    I have been promoted, and the role is in Turkey. it is a transfer from the same business that I have been working in for 13 years KFC, and the role is Market Leader. The question is that I am currently going through the work permit process, but they are asking for a diploma. I only went as far as A levels and then went straight into work. Will this hinder the application? Many Thanks.

  114. raja chowdhury says

    Hi every one
    i am from india i am planing to come Istanbul for work (job) with visit visa….and i i have a agent who is promice me that he will arrenge for me 6 month or 1 year PR….and job in restaurant as a chef. i need advise from all of u people who have experience about this.. should i come there ? is there any risk to work…and can i get renual of my PR again….after 6 month….? my agent is from india whi is residing in ISTANBUL…. plz advice me ….thank in advance


  115. Onica says


    I was hoping some of you guys can help me with advice. I have been working at a school in Ankara for a year, every month they delay for some reason giving me my contract to sign, and a few months ago I presume after my work visa was finally issued they started to pay half my salary cash and half in the bank. Legally this seems dubious to me and I sure as hell do not want to do anything illegal. I am really worried that I would also be penalized should the authorities find out that the school is avoiding tax and not paying towards my pension as they should. According to the school they claim that they are already paying the max amount aloud towards my pension and that they are benefiting from not paying the extra tax. Could I in any way get in trouble for this ? Obviously I’m looking for a another school that would at least give me a contract but I was just wondering if this is normal practice in Turkey ?

    • Nat says

      Nothing is normal practise in Turkey Onica! I can not help you because I have never been in that situation but will advise that you speak to the company who got you the contract. If they can not help, then come back and I will speak to a friend of mine who is a teacher in Istanbul. Maybe she can advise.

  116. May says

    I went to Turkey to work as an English teacher. I was told by a recruitment agency that I would be given accommodation in Turkey during the teachers’ holiday period but I simply was not and was almost left completely homeless there as a result. It was very scary indeed and my employer just seemed unfazed about the situation. The salary I earned was so meagre that I simply was not able to rent an apartment during the holiday even if I wanted to. I ended up staying in a friend’s place. More bad news followed as my employer simply continued to break his promises which he had innitially made to my by email. It was very disappointing.

    • says

      I am sorry to read that May – did you try and come back with a different employment agency?

  117. Jeff says


    I am an American working in Adana, Turkey. I am fortunate enough to be working at Incirlik Air Base as an American Contractor and there are certain agreements between the US Military and the Turkish Military called the SOFA agreements that allows for me to have a Work Permit which I have already received thanks to the wonderful and professional work of a local Turkish Lawyer in Adana. I have found that working in Turkey has presented an entire new challenge and even the introduction of a new word into my vocabulary, we affectionatly call it Turkumstances. Being used to working on highly advanced fueling systems in the US, the system here is antiquated and out of date. The US Military is putting a lot of money into the systems here to update them, the problem that we are running into is the inexperience of the Turkish contractors to perform this work. That is why we are here.

    As far as getting a regular work permit here in Turkey there are a couple of requirements that must be met by the company doing the hiring. The first is that the Foriegn person must have a unique talent or profession that is not readily available in the Turkish market or must be able to prove that they are exceptional at waht they do. The second is that which ever Turkish Company is going to hire them must maintain the quota of 5 Turkish employees for every one foriegn employee. As far as it being costly the entire process actually only requires the equivilant of around $600 US Dollars and takes approximately 8 weeks. The additional costs involved will be for the Turkish Attorney that you will definitely need to use and that cost is around $1,500 US dollars. It is better to apply from your own country than try to apply once you have arrived in Turkey, but you will still want to retain a Turkish Lawyer who specializes in Work/Resident Permits. Most Foriegn Consulates maintain a Consular list for those registered for this purpose and will require that you fill out a power of attorney which will need to be Apostiled by the foriegners Home country. Additionally once the work permit/resident Permit is approved you will have to come to Turkey and register with the Turkish Tax Office and receive a Tax ID number because as an employee of a Turkish Company you will be paying Taxes to the Turkish Government, not your home country.

    So yes there is an avenue for legally working in Turkey, it is paperwork heavy but the Turkish Attorney will guide you through the process without to much anquish.

    • Nat says

      Yes Jeff, there is an avenue unfortunately most of the people I meet who want to work in turkey, want jobs in bars, hotels, restaurants etc. All jobs that can be done by Turks. Like you say “The first is that the Foriegn person must have a unique talent or profession that is not readily available in the Turkish market”

  118. rodel says

    rodel says

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Hi Natalie,

    I would like to ask about TPIC? Turkey petroleum international company. I have received a job offer letter for the post of Engineer. However, my question is based on the contract it stated that I need to contact their agency to process my documents or work permit. Im just wondering why me? why not them the employer that will arrange for the working permit. I am hoping for your favorable response. Thank you.

    • says

      Without knowing the company’s set up, I really could not explain why. Maybe they have contracted out their HR and recruitment departments to a third party. Have you checked out the agency and their credentials? How did you originally make contact? I have this about them on another site – Is that email address the same?

  119. jerome says

    Hi Natalie,

    In addition to all the post and particularly the answers you’ve provided.
    I’d like you to advice if its advisable for one to use the service of agents to help arrange a job and perfect all the necessary documentation prior to one leaving s/h home country.
    Grateful to your response!

    • Nat says

      I have never had experience or heard of anybody that has used these agents Jerome, so it would be unfair of me to comment. If you do use one, just do as you would normally do in any situation. Double check all information and make sure what you are paying out reflects the service given

  120. says

    I never been to Turkey, but my sister goes every year. I guess it must be beautiful for her to go back there so often.

  121. Hed says

    What about people who are married from Turks, are they legal to work in Turkey ? Would they get the work permit easily ?

    guys any info ?

    • Nat says

      Marriage does not entitle you to work either Hed – Not sure that it makes a difference to the work permit either

    • Nat says

      Still the same Kashif – Need a work permit etc etc but for freelancing, you would just establish your own business. Although to get IT work from face to face contacts, you would need a good level of Turkish

  122. Do says

    As with my case I signed a 3 years contract but my employer talk to me and told me they hired another employee. Are there any legal procedures here in turkey for
    Employer Breach Contract.

    • Nat says

      Hi Do – in your case, you need to seek the advice of an employment lawyer

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