Jobs in Turkey

Getting a job in Turkey as an expat is extremely difficult as foreigners are forbidden to hold jobs in a number of professions, including carers in the medical and legal professions. The wages for many of the jobs that are paid in the country are also pretty low.

Only Turkish citizens are permitted to work in the following professions:

Medical doctor, dentist, midwife, nurse, pharmacist, optician, veterinarian, public notary, certified public accountant, attorney-at-law, hospital administrator, managing director of pharmaceutical factories, peddler, musician, photographer, barber, typesetter, broker, garment, cap and footwear producer, stock exchange broker, salesperson of goods produced by state monopolies, interpreter, guide, highway worker, driver, watchman, office boy, doorkeeper, waiter, waitress, singer, construction worker, iron worker, and woodworker.

These restrictions do not apply if you have married a Turkish citizen, but it is likely that your employment options will be limited if you cannot speak fluent Turkish.

The majority of expats who move to Turkey tend to arrive with employment already assured with many being assigned to Turkish branches of multinational companies, diplomatic work, or NGO’s. If you arrive in the country without a job already lined up will find it very difficult to find work legally or earn enough cash to live on.

As with many foreign countries there are often many opportunities for a British expat to teach English. Be aware that such jobs don’t pay very much but it should provide enough to live on. A more lucrative way for a fluent English speaker is to offer private lessons to wealthy Turks, it’s possible to earn up 40 Turkish Lira an hour.

Tourism also provides opportunities to expats but again the pay is poor. English-speakers are in high demand so you will have a slight advantage over the competition. Beware though, that in whatever field you chose to work in it will be a tremendous help to be fluent in Turkish.

Finding work in Turkey

It is best to find a job before you arrive in Turkey, not only for your peace of mind but so that you can obtain the proper visa and permits. If you arrive in the country without a job then prepare for a difficult task.

The best place to start is look for work in the tourist areas, work is often readily available in the months of May through to September. Job postings are often found on billboards at youth hostels or in local newspapers. It also pays to ask directly at hotels and other tourist locations, it also pays to ask even if a post is not being directly advertised as many Turks will jump at the chance to hire an English speaking foreigner. You will not be well paid for this sort of work, and as a result, it´s best for young people who aren´t looking to save. For more sophisticated jobs you will need to apply with a CV and cover letter just like you would in the UK.

You will need to be aware that most part-time jobs are paid cash in hand and that you will not be protected by a contract or be sponsored for a works Visa. In many cases you could be working illegally and will not be protected from the authorities by your employer.

Working conditions

The working conditions in Turkey are a lot worse than those found in many European countries especially if you’re working in a part-time or unskilled job. If you work for a multinational company then your hours, pay, etc are likely to be similar to what you would expect in the Europe.

Corporate employers will typically work 45 hours per week but foreign workers in the unskilled sectors tend to work a lot longer than that. Children from the age of 15 are eligible to work full time also, so don’t be surprised to see kids working the same jobs as adults.

You will most likely be eligible for only two weeks holiday every year and it takes years of loyal service before this is increased. If working in low skilled jobs you probably won’t be entitled to any at all. Westerners will not be granted days off like Christmas or Easter as they are not recognised by many Turkish employers.


Unfortunately one of the absolute certainties in life is tax and in Turkey it’s no different. Once you land a job you will have to apply for a tax number. To register you will have to head to your local fiancé department the Maliye. Normally these offices are located in town or city halls.

Bring photocopies of your passport, residence permit, and work permit to the Accounts once you find the Accounts Department, locate the Tax Department and finally the Civil Test Service. Civil Test Service clerks will ask you for a dilekçe (petition). These “petitions“are brief notes (written in Turkish) that politely request government employees to assist you. Though this is a required document, officials might complete one for you if your Turkish is not very good or you strike them as particularly confused. To be safe, however, prepare one in advance.

To complete your application, sign your dilekçe and get it signed by the Tax Manager´s Assistant You will then receive your new tax number.