Foreign Workers Regulations in Turkey

foreign workers turkey

In 2016, Turkey introduced the International Workforce Law to govern the rights and responsibilities of foreign workers within its borders.


This law requires foreign workers to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor in order to engage in freelance work or enter into employment contracts while in Turkey. However, certain bilateral and multilateral agreements, to which Turkey is a party, allow nationals from specific countries to work in Turkey without the need for a work permit. When assessing work permit applications, the Ministry of Labor considers various factors, including the nature of the work and the overall economic conditions in Turkey that impact employment. Prior to the enactment of the International Workforce Law in August 2016, Turkish employers were obligated to hire five Turkish nationals for each foreign worker they employed, commonly referred to as the “1+5 rule.” Additionally, employers were required to prioritize Turkish candidates for job vacancies, unless they could provide a legitimate reason for hiring a foreign worker. However, in line with the International Workforce Law, the Ministry of Labor is expected to establish new secondary regulations to comprehensively govern work permits, potentially rendering the 1+5 rule and prioritization rule obsolete.

Main categories offered by The Turkish work permit system

For specific sectors like healthcare and education services, foreign workers seeking work permits must first obtain a preliminary work permit from the relevant ministry before applying for a work permit from the Ministry of Labor.

In exceptional circumstances, some foreigners may be granted one of the aforementioned work permits without being subject to the usual time limitations. Such exceptions include foreigners married to Turkish citizens who have continuously resided in Turkey with their spouses, European Union nationals, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus nationals, individuals of Turkish descent, and those deemed qualified employees or investors.

Azkan Group can support you in your Employer of Record (EOR) and payroll requests (also called Umbrella Company) in Turkey. We can manage your HR requests even if you don’t have a legal entity in Turkey.