Working in Turkey
As a Syrian national under temporary protection (TP) in Turkey, you have the right to work in Turkey. There are various types of work permits that you can apply for, but the most common ones are for wage employment and self-employment.
In order to access the labour market and find job opportunities, we recommend that you get registered with İŞKUR, the Turkish Employment Agency, and/or UNHCR partners that provide counselling on available opportunities.
There are many advantages in working legally, and informal work as well as informal businesses are against the law in Turkey. You can enjoy your rights and have access to social security and insurance if you have a work permit and/or official business in Turkey. You will be entitled to the same rights as Turkish nationals and you are entitled to the minimum wage.
Work permits for wage employment
Syrians beneficiaries of temporary protection can apply for work permits six months after the completion of their TP registration procedures and having obtained their TPID cards (with a number starting with 99). The application must be made in your province of residence and you must not have previously obtained a work permit.
Work permits for wage employment are lodged by employers. Once you have reached an agreement on work with your potential employer, he/she should make a work permit application for you to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MoLSS).
Once the work permit has been granted, your employer will receive an email indicating that the work permit application has been successful. The outcome of the application can also be viewed from the ‘Application Tracking System’ section of the MoLSS online work permit system. A work permit document in the form of a card, which is issued by the MoLSS for you (the employee), will be sent by courier to the address where you will work.
Please note that you can only work in the city in which you are registered. If you find employment in another province, you need to apply at the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management with your employer to change your place of registration – you will need to bring the job contract that you have with your employer. Once this change has happened, your employer can apply for a work permit.
The documents needed to apply for a work permit are:
- The temporary protection ID card (including foreigner ID number starting with 99) of the temporary protection beneficiary;
- A photograph of the individual;
- The contract signed between the employer and the employee;
- The e-Government password of the employer; and
- Related documents (activity document, other documents, latest capital and partnership information of the organization, latest tax return, power of attorney, etc.) of the workplace where necessary.
Pre-prepared forms are available on the Ministry of Labour website. Both Arabic and Turkish templates are available; however, the parties are free to use any contracts in line with Turkish labour law.
Work permits for self-employment
If you are self-employed or would like to be self-employed, you need to have a legal enterprise in Turkey that is established and registered according to the Turkish Commercial Code. There are many types of enterprises in Turkey.
You can set up your own business, such as a shop, in Turkey just like any other foreigner. In that case your work place also has to be registered in accordance with the Turkish regulations. Support from UNHCR is available to help you register your business.
Once you have registered your business officially in Turkey, you can apply for a work permit yourself. Counselling is available from UNHCR partners on the work permit application process, setting up your own business as well as entrepreneurship programmes.
Business start-up grants
Business start-up grants are currently available via UNHCR and international NGOs in Turkey for a limited number of start-ups. Syrians can approach relevant organizations to benefit from business start-up grants.
Additionally, the Government of Turkey has incentives for entrepreneurship. The relevant information can be accessed here.
Special procedures for specific areas of work
If you would like to work as a seasonal agricultural worker or in jobs related to animal rearing, there is an exemption possibility. You need to apply at the Provincial Directorate of İŞKUR in your place of registration and state that you will be working seasonally in an agricultural or animal-rearing job. You will be granted the exemption document and therefore will be working formally in Turkey. You can access health services with the exemption document. You can also pay for your own Social Security Premium on a voluntary basis towards retirement.
If you are a doctor or teacher and would like to work in Turkey, you need to receive a preliminary work permit from the provincial directorates of your relevant ministries.
Syrian refugees may attend Turkish language courses and skills, hobby and vocational courses offered by Public Education Centres (Halk Egitim) free of charge. A TPID is required in order to be registered for courses offered by Halk Egitim. Each Halk Egitim may determine which courses it offers and may open new courses based on local demand.
There may also be skills training programmes offered by the MoLSS. Visit İŞKUR website to check for available opportunities.
UNHCR and partner organizations also provide vocational training opportunities. Please contact them for further details.
For further support on livelihoods and work-related matters, please get in touch with UNHCR’s partner organizations using the details below.
Contact details of partner organizations providing livelihoods support
METEM, Yeni Mahallesi Atatürk Caddesi No: 74 Akdeniz/Mersin
Tel: +90 546 657 87 49
Support to Life (STL)
Halkalı Merkez Mahallesi 216. Çıkmaz Atakent 1. Etap Klima Blokları No: 18 G Küçükçekmece/ İstanbul
Tel:+90 212 697 54 35
Yesilce Mahallesi Celik Caddesi No:41 INOGAR Kagithane/Istanbul
Tel: +90 850 333 23 66 – +90 212 265 33 14/15/17
Tel:+90 850 888 11 22, +90 535 035 86 22
Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce
Incilipinar Mahallesi Ticaret Odasi Hizmet Kompleksi Sehitkamil/Gaziantep
Tel: +90 342 220 30 30 (extension: 322)