Turkey is becoming a popular destination for labor migrants from countries around the world. Foreigners are attracted not only by the salary level, which gradually reaches the salary level in developed countries but also by the low cost of living and simple migration laws.
We offer a salary overview for representatives of various professions to understand what you can expect when you get a job in Turkey. We will also answer the most popular questions concerning labor migrants in 2023.
Can you work in Turkey without a work permit?
Yes, this is possible but only for citizens of Turkey. The good news is that you don’t have to be a native of the country or go through a lengthy naturalization process to get Turkish citizenship. Investors can also get a passport of Turkey and all civil rights and freedoms along with it.
In addition, the legislation on the work of foreigners in Turkey provides for exceptions in the category of those who can work without a permit:
- Cultural, artistic, and scientific workers who come to Turkey to carry out their activities, but not longer than for a month.
- Athletes who come to train and participate in competitions, but not longer than four months.
- Employees of importing companies who come to Turkey for installation, maintenance, user training, and repair of equipment sold by their organization, but not longer than three months.
- Employees of foreign licensed tour operators who arrived in Turkey to develop their business and establish new business relationships, but not longer than eight months.
- Specialists who come to Turkey to contribute to developing the sociocultural, educational, and technological sphere – for the project’s duration.
The list is incomplete. It concerns people who come to Turkey to work but not to earn money. They can improve their professional level or engage in networking, but we are not talking about regular income or salary. A work permit is required if a foreigner wants to receive a salary from a Turkish employer or income as an entrepreneur. Let us clarify that çalışma izni (work permit in Turkey) is a residence permit for a labor immigrant. There is no need to obtain a separate ikamet (residence permit in Turkey).
How much do Turkish foreigners earn?
Foreigners in Turkey can expect the same salary as the country’s citizens get in a similar position with similar skills, work experience, and education. According to Turkish law, the salary of labor migrants employed with a work permit cannot be lower than the official salary (from 2023, it is TRY 8,506 or USD 452 per month). At the same time, it cannot be less than what citizens of Turkey receive in a similar position.
Can an English person work in Turkey?
Any foreigner can find a job in Turkey if their knowledge and skills are helpful to local businesses. Moreover, English speakers are highly valued in the Turkish labor market and can earn one and a half to two times more than locals without language knowledge. Companies from Turkey want to operate in international markets, so they are strengthening their teams with expats with knowledge of the languages common in the world. However, foreigners still have to learn Turkish to communicate with colleagues and get a high salary.
Which job is in high demand in Turkey?
To understand which specialties are the most in-demand in the labor market of Turkey in 2023, it is worth understanding the country’s specifics. A stable need for personnel is observed in the following industries:
- Aviation. Airports of Turkey have become a link between the northern and southern parts of the world, Europe and Asia. Istanbul Airport in 2021-2022 was recognized as the busiest airport in Europe. Thousands of employees who speak different languages are required to serve millions of passenger flows.
- Market of intermediary services for migrants. Turkey, in recent years, has become a second home for millions of foreigners: refugees, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and migrant workers. All these people need certain services in Turkey: translating documents for a residence permit, communicating with the migration service, helping open a bank account, finding an apartment for rent, and so on. In this area, bilingual and trilingual specialists are valued, who can quickly understand the inner workings of state institutions and the intricacies of Turkish legislation.
- Tourism. Turkey is a popular holiday destination among Europeans. Accordingly, the search for service personnel for hotels, restaurants, entertainment complexes, and ski and spa resorts is ongoing, regardless of seasonality.
- Light industry. In terms of the production of household goods, Turkey competes with China, the world factory.
- Automotive industry. There are 13 factories in Turkey where the world’s famous car manufacturers assemble their products. Turkey also has its own production of quite high-quality cars – about seven brands and thousands of factories for the production of auto parts.
Otherwise, the professions in demand in Turkey look the same as in other countries worldwide: representatives of the construction, medical, IT, banking, financial, educational, and engineering industries will never be left without work and can expect a fairly high salary. There is always a demand for taxi drivers, nannies, nurses, salespeople, attendants, and service workers.
What skills are in demand in Turkey?
The most popular skills in the labor market of Turkey are:
- knowledge of popular foreign languages, oral and written translation skills
- content management and administration of online stores
- skills to entertain people of all ages
- skills to improve a person’s appearance (work as a hairdresser, masseur, manicure, pedicure, hair transplant specialist, etc.)
- execution of construction and repair works
- cooking skills
- negotiation and sales skills, communication with customers
- development of websites, software, and applications
- staff training
- driving vehicles, including trucks
- ability to perform loading and unloading operations, packaging, and sorting in a warehouse, including industrial mountaineering.
This is not a complete list of in-demand professional skills with which you can count on a good salary in Turkey.
What jobs pay well in Turkey?
Such specialists are most in demand and receive high salary in Turkey:
- Professional top managers with MBA diplomas, preferably from European and American business schools.
- Highly qualified technical specialists, such as architects, electrical engineers, and car service technicians.
- Teachers. The higher the academic degree and the level of the educational institution is, the higher the salary is. For example, a college professor’s position has a higher salary than a high school teacher.
- Doctors of various specialties: surgeons, orthodontists, orthopedists, cardiologists, neurologists, and rehabilitation specialists.
- IT specialists: android developers, PHP developers, CIOs, business analysts, and project managers.
- Sales employees: heads of sales departments, corporate account managers, IT product sales managers, and luxury real estate sellers. The more expensive the sold object in Turkey and the larger the client is, the higher the commission reward will be.
- Financiers: cryptocurrency traders, CFOs, investment advisors, auditors, and risk managers.
This is not an exhaustive list. In Turkey, as elsewhere, specialists with quality education, relevant experience, expert knowledge, and understanding of the market, those who can bring profit to business or save money receive high salary.
What is the highest salary in Turkey and what is the average one?
To understand salary levels in Turkey, it is essential to analyze typical vacancies on job search sites for job seekers. Here is a small selection of what employers offer applicants:
|Profession||Average salary||Maximum salary|
|Argon welder||TRY 17,000 (USD 904)||TRY 34,200 (USD 1,800)|
|Chef||TRY 24,300 (USD 1,290)||TRY 52,000 (USD 2,760)|
|Court medical expert||TRY 53,000 (USD 2,828)||TRY 91,000 (USD 4,800)|
|Family doctor||TRY 47,000 (USD 2,500)||TRY 75,000 (USD 4,000)|
|Waiter||TRY 12,000 (USD 640)||TRY 22,000 (USD 1,170)|
|Anesthetist||TRY 54,000 (USD 2,800)||TRY 82,000 (USD 4,300)|
|Arabic teacher||TRY 16,000 (USD 850)||TRY 31,000 (USD 1,650)|
|PPC specialist||TRY 18,000 (USD 950)||TRY 27,000 (USD 1,400)|
|SEO specialist||TRY 24,000 (USD 1,300)||TRY 52,000 (USD 2,800)|
|Shoe designer||TRY 20,000 (USD 1,000)||TRY 31,000 (USD 1,650)|
|Main architect||TRY 48,000 (USD 2,500)||TRY 155,000 (USD 8,200)|
|Information security manager||TRY 57,000 (USD 3,000)||TRY 79,000 (USD 4,200)|
|IT director||TRY 88,000 (USD 4,700)||TRY 128,000 (USD 6,800)|
The salary spread in Turkey is huge, but in general, it can be concluded that a high salary should be understood as amounts above TRY 100,000 (USD 5,300). Please note that the amount of the monthly salary depends not only on objective factors (education, work experience, skills, knowledge of the candidate, shortage of suitable personnel) but also on the ability to competently bargain with the employer, a kind of Turkish soft-skills.
The salaries of different employees of Turkish companies differ tenfold: you can earn a little more than the legal minimum salary, or you can earn USD thousands or TRY hundreds of thousands per month – the labor market of in Turkey is as contrasting as the country itself. It should be understood that a profession in demand does not guarantee a high salary. Conversely, if the position is paid above the market average, then the search and selection of suitable candidates is a lengthy undertaking with many approvals.