Employment Opportunities

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Working While Studying

International students, unfortunately, have no legal right to work either in public or private offices. However, Turkish universities are relatively open to foreign researchers. Both public and private universities recruit non-Turkish staff. Among universities with a clear international profile are the universities of Bogazici (Istanbul) and the Middle East Technical University  (Ankara), which are both public. Among private universities are those of Sabanci, Koc  and Bilgi  (all in Istanbul) and Bilkent  (Ankara).

Language is not only major obstacle to get a temporary job. There are universities and departments within universities whose language of instruction is English or where English is the most common language. Some private universities were established as English-speaking universities, and they are now trying to compete with public universities to attract top international academic staff and researchers. There are also research institutions which provide teaching in French and German.

In addition, most foundation universities recruit Master's and PhD level students on a full scholarship scheme. Sometimes full scholarships might require international students assisting some professors on certain tasks such as teaching, doing research or preparing statistics etc.  In all these cases, there is no requirement on international academics or students to learn and teach in Turkish.

Working After Studying

If you want to work in Turkey after studying, there are not as many options as you might hope, especially if you don't speak Turkish, and many of them pay very poorly, comparing to the EU countries, Canada or the USA. However there might be surprising opportunities present in the Turkish market. So you can't know them exist before searching for it. 

The first thing to do is to search your job prospects on internet. You should have a very well prepared resume that could tell anything about you even if you are not physically there.  Many Turkish companies speak English, some speak German, French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Russian etc. You definitely hear from them with an invitation for an interview.  

Some of the best paid and most professional works in Turkey are in the various embassies, consulates and non-governmental organisations. But the competition is always intense.

One possibility is to teach your native language at a language school or on a private tuition. There is a great hunger for English language teaching in Turkey which means that this sort of work is easy to find. However, the best paid jobs with the best conditions go to people with a degree and proper TESOL, TEFL, CELTA or PGCE qualifications. The best thing to do is to take a relevant course. 

There are some large international companies or press agencies that need a foreigner in one of their branches located throughout Turkey. Some manage to find work on the New Anatolian, the Turkish Daily News, Zaman or other publications published in foreign languages. There are occasional vacancies for journalists, editors, copy editors or proofreaders. 

If you are looking for casual work, you could try the notice boards at some spots. For anything more serious, please try the noticeboards at some language schools or universities. It's also worth looking in the classified ads of expat magazines.  Other possibilities lie in tourism where there are usually plenty of casual summer jobs. However, foreigners who are working in tourism have to cope with a far longer working week: in effect all day every day at the height of the season. For women one of the best paid options is to take up a post as a nanny to a wealthy family in one of the big cities.  

Work Permits (Calisma Izni)

If you find a job while in Turkey you may have to leave the country to apply for a work permit and then come back in again. 

The law concerning work permits now has a reciprocity clause in it. This means that if a Turkish citizen can work in your country without a work permit, then you can work in Turkey without one. For the time being, this is unlikely to be of much benefit to most Westerners. However, if Turkey does eventually join the EU, then it could mean most Europeans being able to work here without a permit. 

Employment in Turkey is mainly governed by Turkish Labor Law and Trade Union Law. Working permits are granted by The Ministry of Labour. After finding a job at a Turkish company, the company should apply for the working permit on behalf of the foreigner. There is no guarantee that the Ministry will definitely provide the foreigner with a working permit. 

In the meantime most work permits are issued initially for one year. When they are extended, the new permit is usually for three years, and then for six years. If you have been a resident of Turkey for eight years and have had a work permit for six of them, you should then be able to get a permanent work permit.

Useful Links:

     • The Ministry of Labour and Social Security: www.csgb.gov.tr (In Turkish)
     • Turkey's Official Employment Institute: www.iskur.gov.tr
     • Turkish-British Chamber of Commerce & Industry: www.tbcci.org 
     • Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry: www.dtr-ihk.de
     • Monster Online Job Search: www.monster.com.tr
     • My Merhaba Expat Networking: www.mymerhaba.com
     • About Teaching English in Turkey: www.eslcafe.com
     • Teacher Placement Agency: www.angelfire.com/biz/turkeng
     • Kariyer.Net Employer Database: www.kariyer.net (most jobs are listed in English)
     • Yenibiris.Com Online Job Search:www.yenibiris.com (some jobs are given in English)
     • SecretCv.Com Online Job Search: www.secretcv.com
     • Craiglist's Classified Ads, Istanbul section: www.istanbul.craigslist.com.tr
     • Anglo-Nannies: www.anglonannies.com
     • Great Au Pair: www.greataupair.com
     • For jobs in Istanbul: http://www.turkeyjobs77.com/q-istanbul-jobs
     • Live with a Family in Istanbul and Teach Them English: www.goabroad.com/providers/geovisions/programs/live-with-a-family-in-istanbul-and-teach-them-english-59987
     • Jobs page for vacancies in Turkey: http://www.tiptopjob.com/search/jobs_by_location/c/tur_turkey