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TURKEY: Significant changes have been implemented in work permit criteria

Turkey's Ministry of Labor and Social Security released a communiqué on July 28, 2010, regarding the criteria to be considered in adjudicating work permits. This communiqué is pursuant to Article 13 of the Implementation Regulation on the Foreigner's Work Permit Code #4817. It was a first for the Ministry to publicly announce concrete details of the factors in adjudication. The communiqué is posted at http://www.yabancicalismaizni.gov.tr/tr/index.html.

The Ministry indicates in the communiqué that in adjudicating work permits, the following criteria must be met:

  1. New 5:1 Ratio: At least five Turkish citizen employees per foreign applicant as evidenced on payroll records. (Exception: for a newly established legal entity founded by a foreign individual. If that investor owns at least 20% (but amounting to not less than Turkish Lira/TRY 40,000) worth of shares of the entity, and if within 6 months, the five-employee criteria can be met, a work permit may be approved for the foreign partner/investor.)
  2. Capital Requirements: The employer's paid in capital must be at least TRY 100,000. In the alternative, the employer can show a gross (assumedly annual) sales amounting to TRY 800,000, OR exports with a gross annual value of USD 250,000. (Exception: in the case of a non-profit or private employer, criterion #2 will not apply.)
  3. Salary: The foreign employee's salary must be commensurate with the position offered. More specifically, certain managers, pilots, engineers/architects, and teachers cannot be paid less than a specified amount times the minimum wage. All others cannot be paid less than 1.5 times the minimum wage.

The communiqué offers guidance on other professions and workplaces as well.

Additionally, changes were issued in the Official Gazette on July 31, 2010, to the "Application Regulation of the Law No. 4817 Related with Work Permits for Foreigners."

The two most significant amendments specify:

  1. Online Filing: Work permit applications may now only be filed online. The signed application form and supporting documents must be sent to the Ministry within 6 business days from the online application date.
  2. Employer's Finances: The Ministry now again requires the last year's profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet approved by the certified financial advisor or Tax Office. (Note that this is the reverse of the decision in February 2010 no longer to require them in most cases.)
2010 saw an unprecedented level of changes in Turkish immigration law, both in procedure and detail of adjudication criteria. Last fall, the implementation of the online filing system caused a tremendous increase in adjudication time and formal "requests for further documentation." It is hoped that many of the above changes will be integrated fully soon, and that adjudication will return to a smoother process.

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