Work Permits: Many holidaymakers fall in love with Turkey every summer and grow a dream of returning here but the only way they can fulfill that vision is by finding a job to support themselves financially. The article I had previously written about this topic received a lot of attention because working in Turkey was a minefield to be negotiated with planning and patience, and many horror stories had unfortunately emerged.
Pitching up at the airport and having a bar job in a week’s time is still not something I’d suggest. Nevertheless, readers will be happy to know that the Turkish government has warmed up to the idea of foreign workers and every day I hear about more and more people who have been granted a legal permit to work. So I rewrote this post in order to get rid of the doom and gloom and then offer some useful suggestions and tips on how to do it.
Finding jobs in Turkey: Holiday Reps, Teaching English and Freelancing the Internet
Work Permits: Foreigners are unable to do certain jobs in Turkey and these generally include hospitals, skilled trades, law offices, etc., but there are other jobs when being a foreigner is an advantage. Each has its own set of conditions as to whether or not a work permit would be granted and in bars / hotels; this usually depends on how many native Turks the same establishment also employs. There are, though, other workable options.
Make English a Second Language
Hundreds of schools across the country hire foreigners to teach Turkish English to students, and usually request a TEFL or TESOL certificate. Both are recognized worldwide standard qualifications.
Students follow a set course with modules to obtain them, lasting about 100 hours in which they learn how to teach English in the most proficient manner. In Turkey, private language schools are typically located in the cities of Istanbul, Izmir, or Ankara and teaching jobs can be found simply by searching for the work boards on Google.
Companies to holiday
Many of them need reps from summer hotels and airports and that’s how I helped myself in Turkey during my first five years. My accommodation was also provided when I worked for them, which was a great help but this tends to differ from company to company as to whether they will include it.
For a holiday company the only downside of working was the long hours and the tendency to move reps around, making it very difficult to settle in one place. Otherwise, it was a good job which allowed me to visit a lot of places in Turkey.
Freelancing the Internet
This is my work. It’s a lifelong career choice that has taken off all over the world, and I think it will continue to be popular because it allows flexibility; that’s why many nomadic travelers are doing it.
You can source work such as writing, blogging, social media management, web design , and technology on websites such as upwork.com as long as you have a laptop and access to the Internet. A similar idea is that of a virtual assistant and if you intend to live long term in Turkey, you can legally register as a self-employed person to pay tax, healthcare, etc.
Turkish Employment Permits
So some jobs in Turkey will maximize your chances of working but what about the work permits? The good news is that with their feedback, the process now becomes more organized but most importantly, timely. This newspaper article says “100,000 foreigners applied between 2009 and 2013 to obtain a work permit in Turkey and 64,279 of those applications have been approved.”
I have never applied for a work permit because I have registered as a self-employed citizen, but more information on work permits can be found on this official website or your potential employer can refer to the website of the Turkish Labor and Social Security Ministry.
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