Requirement for Foreign Employees to Work
In accordance with the International Labour Force Act No 6735, foreigners must obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security before starting to work for an employer or to work independently.
Types of Work Permit:
- Temporary Work Permit: A foreigner, whose work permit application is approved, is granted a work permit, provided that he/she works in a specific workplace belonging to a real or legal person or a public institution or an organization or in a specific position at one of their workplaces in the same line of business, and that the term of the employment or service contract is not exceeded. The work permit is valid for a maximum of 1 year at the first application.
- Permanent Work Permit: Foreigners with a long-term residence permit or a legal work permit for at least 8 years are eligible to apply for a permanent work permit. Permanent work permit documents are renewed at the end of 5 years when the start date of the work permit expires.
- Independent Work Pertmit: Foreigners in professional occupations are granted independent work permits for a limited period, provided that the specific conditions stipulated in other laws are met.
Does a Foreign Employer need to Establish or Work through a Local Entity to Hire an Employee?
In accordance with the Foreign Direct Investment Law Act No 4875, foreigners can establish a company in Turkey. If foreigners want to establish a workplace and work on behalf of their name and account; following the completion of the establishment procedures such as the publication of the workplace in the trade registry or chamber of artisans registry gazette and obtaining a tax number for the workplaces in question, they must apply to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security for a work permit.
In addition to the above principally, 5 Turkish citizens must be employed in workplaces that will employ a foreign employee.In other words, 5 Turkish citizens must be employed for each foreigner.
Limitations on Background Checks
While being limited with personal data protection rules and regulations, employers can perform certain background checks of potential employees whether the employee is suitable for the relevant position. The background checks, however, must be in relation to evaluation of the potential employees fitness to the role to be offered.In other words, it is not possible to carry out intelligence work or to provide control through any data base. As criminal records and health records are categorized as special category personal data, they can only be processed with the explicit consent of the data subject or in special conditions stipulated under Personal Data Protection Law No.6698 (“DP Law”). The DP Law applies to personal data are processing activities wholly or partially by automated means or by non-automated means when part of a data filing system. The DP Law, therefore, does not apply to interviews which is not recorded including recording by notetaking. In these cases, it is generally accepted that the employer can only ask questions regarding criminal record and health so long as it is necessary for the requirements of the job. For example, questions regarding criminal records as to financial crimes can be asked to potential employees to be worked in finance departments.
Additional permission should be obtained from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security in order to work in some fields, such as an insurance company, bank or a leasing company.
Restrictions on Application/Interview Questions
There are no legal limitations regarding the questions to be asked during applications, interviews or other hiring procedures. However, employers must still be cautious and should not invade the privacy of potential employees, or should not ask questions which may lead to harassment / sexual harassment allegaitons, apart from the explanations above under Question 3.