New Law No. 6735 on International Labour Force
International Labour Force Law No. 6735 (“Law No. 6735 “), which regulates, among others, work permit applications for foreign nationals has become effective through its announcement in the Official Gazette of 13.08.2016 numbered 29800. Save for the exception which shall apply throughout the transition period as further explained below, Law No. 6735 has repealed and replaced the Law No. 4817 on Work Permits of Foreigners dated 27.02.2003 (“Abrogated Law”) and re-arranged the work permit application process and the assessment criteria. According to Law No. 6735, Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security (“Ministry”), which is in charge of assessing and deciding on work permit applications will set up international labour force policies which shall be taken into account in assessing whether an applicant is eligible for working in Turkey. In determining international labour force policies, the Ministry will take into consideration the decisions of the International Labour Force Consultancy Committee, which is yet to be established and the Immigration Policies Committee, as well as factors, such as regional developments, industrial and economic changes, and social, cultural and economic relations between Turkey and the applicant’s country of origin. Law No. 6735 defines three types of work permits namely, (i) ordinary work permit, (ii) freelance work permit and (iii) permanent work permit subject to the satisfaction of the respective statutory conditions. In addition to the foregoing permits, the concept of “Turquoise Card” has been introduced which shall be issued, subject to the prior approval of the Ministry and the Labour Force Consultancy Committee, exclusively to highly qualified, resourceful foreigners whose level of education, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, and to foreign investors whose investments in Turkey would create employment and contribute to the development of the Turkish economy. Turquoise Card holders shall be able to permanently work in Turkey and also their dependents shall be able to permanently reside in Turkey.
Certain exceptions shall apply to (a) foreign individuals who i) seek international protection or, ii) apply for conditional immigration, and (b) foreign engineers and architects. However, these exceptions have not yet been determined and are yet to be announced through secondary legislation.
In the transition period i.e., until detailed secondary legislation shall be issued to regulate the implementation of the provisions of Law No. 6735, provisions of the Abrogated Law and its underlying secondary legislation shall be applicable to the extent that they do not conflict with the provisions of Law No. 6735.