Do I have the right to access labour market in Türkiye?
As a Syrian national under temporary protection (TP) or international protection applicant or status holder in Türkiye, you have the right to work in Türkiye. 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 Türkiye. You can enjoy your rights and have access to social security and insurance if you have a work permit and/or official business in Türkiye. You will be entitled to the same rights as Turkish nationals and you are entitled to the minimum wage.
How can I obtain a work permit? What are the conditions and necessary documents?
Syrians beneficiaries of temporary protection and international protection applicants can apply for work permits six months after the completion of their registration procedures and having obtained their ID 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 Family, Labour and Social Services (MoFLSS) through e-Government website.
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 e-Government website. A work permit document in the form of a card, which is issued by the MoFLSS 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/ international protection applicant or status holder ID card ID card (including foreigner ID number starting with 99) of the temporary protection/international protection beneficiary;
- A photograph of the individual;
- The contract signed between the employer and the employee;
- The e-State 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 website of Directorate General of International Labour Force. Both Arabic and Turkish templates are available; however, the parties are free to use any contracts in line with Turkish labour law.
If you would like to work as a seasonal agricultural worker or in jobs related to animal rearing, there is a possibility of exemption from the work permit. 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 Türkiye. 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.
Can I set up and register my own business?
If you are self-employed or would like to be self-employed, you need to have a legal enterprise in Türkiye that is established and registered according to the Turkish Commercial Code. There are many types of enterprises in Türkiye.
You can set up your own business, such as a shop, in Türkiye 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 Türkiye, 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.
Are there any professions that I won’t be able to practice in Türkiye?
Apart from the quota applicable to foreigners employed in a workplace, certain professions in Türkiye can only be practiced by Turkish nationals.
Therefore, work permit applications lodged for those professions are rejected. The below professions are reserved exclusively for Turkish citizens and it is against the law for foreigners to be employed in them:
- Patient care personnel,
- Managing director at a private hospital,
- Security personnel in government institutions or private organizations,
- Export of corals, pearls, sponges and mussels, oysters and fish within the Turkish territorial waters, diver, excavator, harbour pilot, captain, engineer (in maritime context), shipping clerk, and crew in maritime navigation, etc.,
- Customs broker,
- Tourist guide,
Can I take free language and vocational training courses in Türkiye? If yes, where and how do I have to apply for that?
There are skills training programmes offered by the MoLSS. Visit İŞKUR website to check for available opportunities.
You may attend Turkish language courses and skills, hobby and vocational courses offered by Public Education Centres (Halk Egitim Merkezi) free of charge. An ID is required in order to be registered for courses offered by Halk Egitim Merkezi. Each Halk Egitim Merkezi may determine which courses it offers and may open new courses based on local demand.
UNHCR and partner organizations also provide vocational training opportunities. Please contact them for further details.