The Regulation on Implementation of the Code on International Workforce

The Regulation on Implementation of the Code on International Workforce (“Regulation”) was published on the Official Gazette on February 2, 2022, abrogating the Regulation on Implementation of the Code on Work visa for Foreigners. Therefore, the Regulation is now the main regulation setting forth the principles and procedures regarding the work visas and work visa exemptions to be granted to foreigners.

To begin with, it should be noted that, the Regulation creates a fully electronic environment for implementation of the legislation, stipulating that each and every action/transaction to be executed for the work visa and work visa exemptions are to be made electronically. Therefore, from application to the issuance of the visa or visa exemption, whole procedure shall be handled electronically via/through the electronic system run by the General Directorate of International Workforce (“Electronic System”). Therefore, we could assume that the application procedures are to be executed in a both simplified and a timely manner from now on.

The Regulation requires that, unless otherwise agreed on bilateral or multilateral acts or international Conventions, a foreigner must be granted the work visa before beginning his or her employment. Foreigners exempted from the work visa, on the other hand, are to duly inform the Ministry of Employment and Social Security (“Ministry”) of their work status before and after any change on their working status. Therefore, employers should duly notice the Ministry of such changes, and the foreign employees should follow up the process with their employers so as to stay on the safe side.

Unless granted an exemption via specific law to employ foreign employees, public authorities are to employ foreign employers only by duly having them got work visa as regular employers. In other words, as a rule, public authorities and their foreign employees are subject to the Regulation.

As a principle, application for work visa is to be made by the foreigner at the Turkish Embassies/Consulates located in the country of citizenship or residency of the applicant. However, should foreigner hold a resident permit valid for at least 6 (six) months, then the application could be made via the Electronic System. Besides, the foreigners who meet the requirements to be designated by the General Directorate, who duly are present in Turkey could make their applications via the Electronic System without resident permit. Therefore, we could state that scope of applications that could be done in Turkey is expanded.

For the applications made at the Turkish Embassy/Consulate, the prospective employer is to make a separate application at the Ministry for the foreigner, referencing the application number given to the foreigner by the Turkish Embassy/Consulate within 30 (thirty) days upon application of the foreigner at the Turkish Embassy/Consulate. Therefore, applicant should follow up with the prospective employee to make sure that the employee duly applies to the Ministry within the given time.

As a rule, we should point out that in case of missing or incomplete documentation at the application procedure, the General Directorate grants a 30 (thirty) day to the applicant so as to provide the missing or fix the incomplete documents. The Regulation also stipulates that the application is to be concluded by the Ministry within 30 (thirty) days following the date of application, or submission of the missing/uncomplicate documents.

The period of the first work visa granted to an applicant to work for a employer could not exceed 1 (one) year unless the applicant is exempted from such time frame by the Section IV of the Regulation as we shall identify in the following sections of this article. The Regulation constitutes the period of first renewal of the work visa as 2 (two) years, and the period of the following renewals as 3(three) years.

Foreigners who have been granted a long-term resident permit and who have been legally working in Turkey for at least 8 (eight) years may apply for an unlimited-term work visa that entitle such foreigners to work independently, or under one or more employers. Such work visa, however, should be re-issued every 5 (five) years. In other words, although the visa is granted for an unlimited period of time, the visa is to be renewed in 5 (five) year periods.

Preserving the legal regime established by the international acts and conventions, the Regulation authorizes the Ministry to set forth limitations on work visas as required due to changes in situation employment market and environment, sectoral or economical conjuncture, for a certain period of time, sector, geographical or administrative area, or profession.

As per the Regulation foreigners working without a work visa/valid work visa are to be deported from the country.

Any dispute regarding the work visa is to be first challenged before the Ministry within 30 (thirty) days upon receipt of the notice related to the dispute, then before the administrative court by filing a lawsuit against the dispute.

Should you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.