Social rights of foreigners in Turkey – The rights of foreign workers in Turkey


The many benefits of living, working and studying in Turkey as well as the Turkish government’s support for foreign investors have led to increased employment and immigration opportunities for foreigners to Turkey.


But, what rights do immigrants & foreigners have in Turkish society?

If you are planning to immigrate or work in Turkey, stay with us until the end of the article to learn more about the social rights of foreigners in Turkey.

What you will read in this article:

  1. What are the basic rights of foreigners residing in Turkey?
  2. What is the bilateral social security agreement for foreigners in Turkey?
  3. Do foreigners have health rights in Turkey?
  4. The right of residence for foreigners in Turkey
  5. The principle of non-discrimination in Turkey
  6. Ways to get a job for foreigners in Turkey
  7. What should you notice when starting a business in Turkey?
  8. Do foreigners have unemployment insurance in Turkey?
  9. Are the salaries of foreigners in Turkey different from those of Turkish citizens?
  10. Are foreigners entitled to annual leave and paid leave in Turkey?
  11. Can foreigners retire in Turkey?


What are the basic rights of foreigners residing in Turkey?

The Turkish government considers attracting foreign investors, selling real estate to foreigners, facilitating obtaining Turkish citizenship & residency.

Providing work and employment permits and that sort of thing is the basic rights of foreigners in Turkey.

To increase the attractiveness of investing for foreigners in Turkey, a constitution was drawn up for the Turkish Republic stating that: “everyone has the right to social security.”

This statement includes the social rights of foreigners, the social Insurance law, and the health insurance for foreign workers in Turkey.

The law in Turkey states: “According to the principle of reciprocity, except for nationals of countries covered by the international social security treaty, foreign workers have an insured contract.”

Therefore, employers who employ foreigners are obligated to insure them.

And foreigners who do not have a work contract are entitled to freely apply for health insurance in Turkey.


What is the Bilateral Social Security Agreement for Foreigners in Turkey?

The bilateral or multilateral social security agreement in Turkey regulates the social security rights and obligations of citizens of different countries.

If there is an agreement between a foreign country and Turkey, this means that the citizens of both countries have appropriate social rights in the country.

According to the agreement above, foreign nationals working in Turkey must go to the SGK office and register their status.

Under certain agreements and on special terms agreed between the two countries concerned, a person may be able to transfer their social security status to Turkey.

Please note that there are certain restrictions on the duration and type of activity of persons covered by this law, which must be inquired about at that time.

Do foreigners have health rights in Turkey?

Foreigners must apply in person to the nearest health or social insurance center in Turkey so that they can easily benefit from health insurance and medical services in Turkey, by paying a specific amount of fee.

There are currently more than 600 foreign national insurance centers in Turkey, you can visit any of them to apply and obtain health insurance.


The right of residence for foreigners in Turkey

According to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (YUKK) No. 6458, a residence permit in Turkey is a document indicating that a foreigner is allowed to stay in Turkey.

This permit issued by the competent authorities grants foreigners the right to reside in Turkey for a certain period.

Foreigners and immigrants who have obtained a residence permit can enter and leave Turkey without a visa.

The principle of non-discrimination in Turkey

In Turkey, any discrimination based on language, religion, race or gender between citizens and foreigners is prohibited, as equality and non-discrimination are guaranteed by international conventions and domestic law.

The aim of this principle is to guarantee the basic and social rights of foreigners in Turkey, as well as to guarantee the freedom of all people, including foreigners and Turkish citizens.


Ways to find work for foreigners in Turkey

Follow these tips to find work you’re looking for:

  • Follow online work ads.
  • Follow the publications in the newspapers.
  • Subscribe to recruitment consulting firms.
  • Return directly to the institutions.
  • You can increase your chances of finding work by registering with the Turkish Labor Organization (İŞKUR).

Read more about finding a job in Turkey.

What should you pay attention to when starting a job in Turkey?

Once you find a job that fits your needs, there are a few things you should watch out for, the most important of which are:

  • No need for a written contract for works that will be less than one year.
  • If the period of employment in the requested position is more than one year, it is necessary to sign a written contract.
  • Regarding an employment contract, pay attention to things like type of work, place of work & salary, and be sure to get a copy of the contract.
  • The test period is a maximum of two months when employed in Turkey.

During this test period, the employer is obligated to pay salaries and insurance premiums.

Do foreigners get unemployment insurance in Turkey?

As mentioned earlier, obtaining insurance for foreign workers is one of the first social rights of foreigners in Turkey.

Foreigners who work in Turkey and do not have insurance are also covered by unemployment insurance.

Are the salaries of foreigners in Turkey different from the salaries of Turkish citizens?

The labor law in Turkey protects the rights of foreign workers as well as Turkish citizens alike, as the minimum net monthly wage should not be less than the amount specified by this law.

In addition, the maximum weekly working time in Turkey is 45 hours.

So working more than 45 hours per week is subject to the payment of additional wages to foreigners and Turkish citizens.


Do foreigners have the right to annual leave and paid leave in Turkey?

Foreigners working in Turkey have their full rights such as fixed working hours, overtime pay, paid and unpaid leave, right to contract as well as termination of service.

In fact, foreign workers in Turkey have exactly the same rights as Turkish citizens, as both Turkish and foreign employers are entitled to.

In addition to obtaining vacations on official events of the Turkish calendar, and the possibility of obtaining paid annual leave.

But to be eligible for this type of leave, you must have worked in the same workplace for at least one year.

Can foreigners retire in Turkey?

Yes, foreigners can retire in Turkey.

The laws & rights of foreigners are completely similar to the laws & rights of Turkish citizens.

The retirement age for Turkish or foreign employers is between 58 and 60 years, provided that the worker has earned a wage of at least 7,200 working days.