Every summer, many holidaymakers want to work in Turkey so they can stay here permanently. They develop a dream to live here, but they can only sustain that vision by finding a job in Turkey to support themselves financially. The article I previously wrote received much attention because working in Turkey was a minefield to be negotiated with a lot of planning and patience. Unfortunately, many horror stories had emerged.
Pitching up at an airport in Turkey and finding a bar job within a week is still not something I would recommend. However, readers should know the Turkish government warmed to the idea of foreign workers and every day, I hear of more people who found a job and received the right to work legally in Turkey. So I wrote this post to get rid of the doom and gloom and give helpful tips.
Finding Jobs in Turkey: Holiday Reps, Teaching English & Internet Freelancing
Foreigners cannot do specific jobs in Turkey. These include hospitals, qualified trades, legal offices, etc. But there are other jobs when being a foreigner is an advantage. Each has its own set of job criteria whether a work permit will be given and in bars/hotels; this typically depends on how many native Turks the same establishment employs. However, there are other viable options in Turkey.
Teach English as a Second Language
Hundreds of schools all over Turkey employ foreigners to teach Turkish students English, and they ask for a TEFL or TESOL qualification. Both are standard qualifications recognised all over the world. To obtain them, students follow a set course with modules lasting 100 hours in which they learn to teach English most proficiently. In Turkey, private language schools are usually in the cities of Istanbul, Izmir, or Ankara and jobs as a teacher can be found by searching Google for the job boards.
Most international holiday companies need summer term hotel and airport reps, and this is how I supported myself during my first five years in Turkey. When I worked for them, my accommodation was provided, which was a great help, but this differs from business to business whether they include it. The downside of working for a holiday company in Turkey was the extended service hours and the tendency to move reps around, making it hard to settle in one place. Otherwise, it was a good job that enabled me to visit many places in Turkey.
Au Pair Jobs in Turkey
If you have childcare qualifications and a clean criminal record, search Google to find many local Turkish families looking for an au pair. Most live in the big cities of Turkey like Istanbul and offer an average wage of 400 USD a month. They usually give one day off a week, and you live in their home, hence don’t pay rent. This is also a great chance to learn Turkish since you will be throwing yourself in the deep end, although quite a few families also speak English.
This is my job. It is a lifelong career choice that has taken off worldwide, and will continue to be popular because it allows flexibility; hence, many nomadic travellers do it. If you own a laptop and have Internet access, source work such as writing, blogging, social media management, web design, and technology on websites like upwork.com. A similar concept is a virtual assistant. However, this is still a grey area, and as a foreigner, you need to form a company and then employ Turkish people. Note, the rules constantly change, so do stay informed. With more and more people turning to this line of work, there is a good chance Turkey could simplify it.
Hotel Work in Turkey
Another avenue to try is the large, all-inclusive hotels dotted around the Aegean or Mediterranean coasts of Turkey. Because they employ hundreds of people, the owners and managers easily get work permits. From what I heard, wages are low, but employees get food and accommodation included. Some people end up on the entertainment team, others in the spa centres. Look on their websites or email managers with your resume.
Working Permits for Jobs in Turkey
Some jobs maximise your chances of working in Turkey, but what about the work permits? The good news is the process now seems more streamlined but more timely with their responses. For example, this newspaper article says, “100,000 foreigners applied to obtain a work permit in Turkey between 2009 and 2013, and 64,279 of these applications were successful.” I never applied for a working visa because I registered myself as self-employed on a citizenship basis. But further information on work permits is displayed on this official website, or your potential employer can refer to the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security website.
The Best Place to Find a Job in Turkey
There are plenty of places to look for employment in Turkey, but in my experience, the best place for international networking and put yourself on the job market is LinkedIn. They have a free service, but the premium version allows you to form a portfolio as your resume for potential employers to view. You also receive notification of any business in your niche posting job listings. This site is easy to use and one of the best to look for an employer offering work in Turkey.