Turkey - Legal clarity for cross-border service providers

Since August 2016 the Turkish legislature has closed a regulation gap with the new Law No. 6735 on Foreign Workers. It is about the residence status of foreign workers in the area of ​​cross-border services. For these practically important cases, the now repealed Legislative Act No. 4817 concerning the employment permits for foreigners did not provide any rules. The latter only dealt with the cases in which foreigners pursue a dependent employment with an employer in Turkey or want to work there independently. However, the practically important case of service provision was excluded, for example, that an employee of a German company travels to Turkey for a limited period in order to carry out contractual work with a customer in Turkey.


Cross-border service providers do not require work permits


Article 13 of the new Law provides that foreign service providers who do not live in Turkey for more than 90 days within 180 days do not need a work permit. If the stay exceeds this period of 90 days, cross-border service providers may still apply for an exemption under Article 16. An exception is granted to Foreign Service Providers, for example, who wish to stay temporarily in Turkey (Article 16).


Exempted from the obligation to obtain a work permit are members of the Executive Board of a Turkish stock company which are not resident in Turkey as well as non-Turkish shareholders of companies under the Turkish Commercial Code. This exemption is not applicable to shareholders of a Turkish company and to the other companies, if the shareholder is a managing shareholder (Article 13).


Procedure for the granting of a work permit


Moreover, foreigners, if not subject to a derogation, always require a work permit if they wish to pursue employment in Turkey (Article 6). The labor market policy considerations referred to in Article 4 of the Law on Foreign Workers (Article 6) must be taken into account in the procedure for granting a work permit. The purpose is to balance the protection of domestic workers and the need for qualified foreign workers.


The application for a work permit must be submitted to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs or to a Turkish representative abroad (Article 7). The foreign representatives forward requests to the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. The application should be submitted after 30 days, if all documents have been provided (Article 7).


Source: GTAI (Sherif Rohayem)

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Date: 3/23/17