Turkish Tax News
Att. A. Vahit KAYA
02 February 2017Att. A. Vahit KAYA

New type of work permits in Turkey: Turquoise Card and International Labour Law

The Law on International Labor Force which came into force on August 13, contains important changes for work permits system in Turkey for foreigners. The new law regulates foreigners’ entry into the Turkish labor market in a more extensive and disciplined way. Although there is no significant change in terms of work permit/visa procedures, some flexibilities for specific categories of professions are introduced in different sections of the new law.

One of the main motivations behind the introduction of a new law for the management of international labor immigration is to introduce an effective tool to achieve the right balance between the protection of local employment and the relaxation of barriers to high-skilled foreign labor

One of the most important innovations of the new law is the introduction of a new international labor force policy for Turkey: A selective policy towards managing which immigrants will enter the Turkish labor market. As per Article 4 of the new law, a Turkish International Labor Force Policy Council will be established to define the country’s international labor force policy. Additionally, Article 7 (7) of the new law mandates the Labor Ministry to define criteria for the establishment of a points-based system in the assessment of work permit applications.

“Turquoise Card” a new type of work permit

It should be noted that the new law adopts a hybrid labor immigration system: Both employer-led and points-based system features are underlined in the respective articles of the new law. In this regard, a new type of work permit is initiated. As per Article 2, a Turquoise Card could be granted to foreigners as an indefinite work permit. The Turquoise Card would be granted through the recommendation of the Turkish International Labor Force Council by considering several factors such as the education level of the applicant, their professional experience, their contribution to science and technology, and the impact of activities and investments in Turkey on the economy and employment.

A more systematic and flexible system will be established in immigration policy

The new Law on the International Labor Force theoretically brings many new innovations to Turkey’s labor immigration system. Especially after the introduction of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, the development of a more systematic and flexible system was inevitable for the achievement of a well-founded immigration policy. The establishment of a more selective labor immigration system is no doubt a revolutionary cornerstone in Turkish law in terms of achieving the right balance between protecting the local labor market and removing barriers to the international mobility of labor.

The main impact of the new law in terms of procedural efficiency could be discussed in the near future with the introduction of the forthcoming implementation regulation on the Law on the International Labor Force

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