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TURKEY: Work permit changes

The Turkish Work Permit Directorate has again recently made several changes to the work permit regulations and procedure.The first set of changes occurred on April 28th, mostly concerning integration into the regulations of the online work permit application system implemented last August. The second set of changes, publically disclosed on April 25th 2011, deals with the 5:1 ratio requirement of Turkish national to foreign employee per work permit.

First set of Regulatory Changes- in addition to updating the regulations to reflect application online filing rules, there are the below additional amendments:

Maintenance of status during adjudication of a work permit Renewal: A foreigner may now work up to 45 days in the workplace in the same position following the expiration of the work permit, provided that a renewal application is filed timely. The renewal filing with the Labor Ministry will be communicated to the Interior Ministry online. [note: this will be of great assistance to renewals of group B nationals]

New Special Consideration to Work Permit Applications to Certain Spouses of Turkish Nationals: If the foreigner has been married to a Turkish Citizen for at least 3 years, the following will not be taken into consideration in adjudication; (i) employee’s proposed position, (ii) employee’s education, (iii) 5:1 ratio, paid-in capital and other work permit adjudication criteria.

Official Opinion from Unemployment Agency: The Ministry can now ask for feedback from the Turkish Employment Organization (?SKUR). This feedback may be used to determine whether a similarly-qualified Turkish national can be found for the work permit position within 4 weeks.

Updated Deadline for notification of Change of Workplace: The Labor Ministry must be notified within 15 days of a change in employee or employer’s workplace. Note this deadline does not apply to all types of work permits.

Filing deadline: The 6 day deadline to submit the application package to the Ministry following filing the online application is clarified to be 6 business days.

Change in Procedure to Applications filed by Spouses of Foreign Diplomats or International Institutions: Work permit applications of the spouse and children of an foreign diplomat working in a Consulate/embassy in Turkey or in an official capacity with an international institution or their Turkish representatives, can now be filed directly to the Labor Ministry (previously through the Foreign Ministry) and the Ministry will request feedback of the Foreign Ministry.

Second set of Changes- With regard to the Foreigners to local employee 5:1 ratio, the changes clarified situations in which the application will not be subject to the ratio:

If there is evidence the position that is the subject of the work permit application requires advance technology or that a Turkish national specialist couldn’t be found, both the 5:1 employee ratio and capital requirement shall not be not applied.

For companies which satisfy the Foreign Direct Investment requirements* (see below), the 5:1 ratio will be applied by taking into consideration every employee of all the Company’s Turkey workplaces. [Note that this would appear inconsistent with the Directorate’s previous position to count all workplaces regardless of the status of the company. As Bener advised previously, this position was subject to change.] If the foreign employee is a “key personnel” under this law, the Directorate may not count him/her in the 5:1 ratio.

When the foreigner will work on a product and service procurement for public institutions or by public tender, OR when the application is subject to a bilateral or multilateral agreement to which Turkey is a party, BOTH the 5:1 ratio and capital requirement shall not apply.

Also note that for work permits in the entertainment and tourism industry:

Petitioning firms in entertainment and “tourism-animation” industry, should have at least 10 Turkish national employees to be authorized for one foreign national employee work permit, and also five more Turkish national employees for every additional foreign employee for the jobs involving specialization and ingenuity.

Foreign Direct Investment Law requirements for companies: the company or a branch must show that either:

a) The last annual turnover amounts to at least 67,02 million Turkish Lira, under the condition that the total capital share of the foreign shareholders amounts to at least 894,068 million Turkish Lira, OR

b) The last annual exports amount to at least 1 million US Dollars, under the condition that the total capital share of the foreign shareholders amounts to at least 894,068 million Turkish Lira, OR

c) At least 250 personnel are employed with the company or branch within the last year, of which all are registered with the Social Securities Institution, under the condition that the total capital share of the foreign shareholders amounts to at least 894,068 million Turkish Lira, OR

d)  Will make an investment, the minimum fixed investment amount foreseen shall be at least 22.4 million Turkish Lira, OR

e) The principal company features any direct foreign investment in at least one more country apart from the country where its head offices are situated.

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