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Working Illegally in Turkey: What Happens if You're Caught


It's illegal to work in Turkey without a work permit. Some employers may hire you to work illegally, since they won't have to register you with the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (Social Security Administration) or pay anything towards your healthcare, retirement, or other benefits. It's strictly a cash deal, paid after you provide your services.

Your employer might not pay you at all. You'll be helpless to do anything about it, since you'll have no rights to assert.

How You Can Get Caught

There are three main ways you can get caught working illegally:

  1. A surprise inspection of your workplace by the local office of the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services to check the work permits of any foreigners working there.
  2. An anonymous telephone call to the authorities. Anybody can call and report illegal workers. Often it will be a former disgruntled employee or a competitor.
  3. The police coming to your residence for some reason and asking a neighbor where you are. Then your neighbor telling them that you're at work.

What Will Happen if You Get Caught

There will be a hefty fine for both you and your employer. The fine is doubled if an offense is repeated. You may also face being turned over to the Ministry of the Interior for deportation, and being banned from re-entering Turkey for 90 days or more.

Turkey's Law on Illegal Workers

The authority for government officials to inspect workplaces for illegal workers and the fines which can be imposed comes from the Law on International Workforce, No. 6735.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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