By Justin Mays:
In 2017 Turkey established another form of work permit program called the Turquoise Card. Similar to the USA’s Green Card Program, the Turquoise Card offers highly skilled workers the opportunity to work and live in Turkey. The card allows the holder to initially stay in Turkey for three years with the possibility of extension and automatic grant of residency for their spouse and children.
The Turquoise Card is a selective program, accepting only those who have exceptional qualifications. Potential holders of the card could fall under the following categories and skills:
-One’s level of education, the salary they earn, professional experience, and special consideration is given to those with contributions in science and technology
-Their potential to invest in Turkey through export schemes, potential to hire local employees, scientific and technological contributions, etc.
-Researchers and Scientists who will contribute to Turkey’s development at an international level
-Top-level cultural, athletic, and artistic individuals who have shown success at the international level
-Those who contribute to the recognition and promotion of Turkey and its culture abroad
There are 2 ways to make your initial application. One is directly through the Ministry of Labor and Social Security or to apply from abroad at the Turkish Embassy / Consulate in your country of residence. You can give power of attorney to a third party to handle the application for you.
Once your application is received, it will be evaluated based on the Directorate General of International Workforce’s assessment framework. You will be supervised regularly by a specialist who will continue to track your achievements. If the supervisor is not satisfied with your performance, the holder is given three months to correct any issues.
Other grounds for cancelation include: when the cardholder does not arrive in Turkey in the first six months of being granted a card or if they leave Turkey for two years consecutively, if any law is broken or documents falsified, and if the holder does not work for at least a year continuously.
The first issued card is only valid for three years, the cardholder needs to apply for a permanent card 180 days prior to their existing card expires if they plan to stay more.
Turquoise Cardholders have the right to work but are not granted full citizenship rights. They are not allowed to vote, work in the government, or work in the public sector. They are exempt from military service and can participate in Turkish social security schemes and are subject to local laws.