What are the chances for foreigners to find a job in Turkey?

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Finding a job in Turkey is not easy, and looking in another country involves taking into account a number of elements.

Two categories of foreigners can mainly be encountered in the professional world in Turkey. There are expatriates, sent to work for several years in a company attached to their country, but there are also foreigners who are looking for work on the spot, by their own means. The reasons for this initiative are varied: a crush on the country, a desire for adventure and a change of scenery or even a Turkish spouse. Americans, Europeans…

Recruitment agencies in Turkey

Looking for a job in Turkey is not necessarily an easy task. To increase your chances, it is possible to go through a recruitment agency. Agencies provide the link between candidates and companies looking for specific profiles for vacancies. For this, it is necessary to go, among the international agencies, to those which accept applications from foreigners. The Turkish office of the famous Manpower agency, for example, is subject to Turkish law and therefore is not able to receive files from foreigners. However, there are several international agencies likely to support foreign applications, such as our company Azkan Group.

Once the CV has been received, the agency can invite the candidate to an introductory interview. If a job in Turkey offer matches the profile and skills, it will submit the application to the relevant company, which will then be free to arrange an interview. It’s about helping businesses find what they’re looking for. “When a company uses an agency, it is because it has already looked and has not found. We try to help them, exploring different ways. At that time, we can for example propose foreign candidates, this can be a solution”, explains Esin Dağlı, associate consultant at Nicholson International. For his part, Hakan Yarbaoğlu indicates that he cannot proceed in the same way with Turkish and foreign candidates. “When the profile of Turkish candidates corresponds to an offer, I send the offer directly to these candidates. But when it comes to a foreigner, I first go through the company, to find out if they have a problem with the candidate being a foreigner.”

Language, the main obstacle of finding a job in Turkey

One of the main difficulties that a foreigner looking for work in Turkey may encounter is mastering the Turkish language. Not speaking Turkish is indeed an almost eliminating trait. “Some sectors are in constant contact with Turkish laws and legislation. A foreigner who cannot understand them cannot fill a position. In addition, Turkish employees do not necessarily all speak English and communication between colleagues can be limited, compromising professional efficiency. The language barrier is therefore marked. To start having a chance, you need at least an intermediate level in Turkish.

Speaking Turkish as well as another mother tongue can be a “plus”. But Turks also speak these languages, and employers may then be led to prefer Turks who master a foreign language. On this point, there are highly qualified Turks on the job market, and employers go to them first.

In fact, there is not really a sector particularly conducive to hiring foreigners. However we suggest that engineering positions could be considered. When it comes to technology, companies may need outsiders who bring new methods. A sector like marketing is more or less unattainable. Your Turkish must be as good as a native to sell your products and propose action plans to your superiors.” It is therefore recommended to apply to companies that have a link with the culture of origin, and if possible to apply directly to the head office if it is in the native country.

In addition to learning Turkish, we advise doing everything possible to build a network, even if only initially within your home community.

In order to find a job in Turkey, it is finally necessary to obtain a work permit. The employer takes care of that. “It’s not a big financial burden, but it takes time. A member of the company must follow the file, it is a two-month procedure. It is therefore a form of investment for the employer.

You should also know that the work permit is linked to the company. If the foreign employee resigns and is hired elsewhere, the new company will have to repeat these steps.