Whether you seek to hire or become a full-time or part-time domestic helper, nanny, or caregiver, there are things you need to know as not to get into trouble with Turkish law.

As per law, you cannot hire foreign personnel to work as cleaners or maids, but you can employ babysitters, caregivers, or domestic help if you have children younger than 15 or a 1st-degree relative older than 65. If you have someone in the family with a health condition that requires special care, you can also hire a foreign caretaker for help.

As a nanny/caretaker/domestic helper, here's what you should expect from the job application process.

You can apply to such jobs through job search platforms and websites, or you can go through an agency. You may be asked to provide references or professional qualifications/certificates on child development, patient care, etc., depending on the nature of your work. First aid training may be a good one to have, for example.

After sending your resume to secure a preliminary or informational interview, you'll be asked to have a face-to-face interview. The employer or the agency will evaluate your behavioral skills and feel your personality to see if you'll be a good fit for the household.

If you succeed, you will be offered a job and will move on legalizing this agreement through a contract. However, you and your employer will also need to apply for a work permit to work in Turkey legally.

Pay, Days Off, and Accommodation

Although your working days and hours will change depending on your employer and whether it is a live-in position or not, all domestic helpers are entitled to at least 24 hours off a week with pay.

The average pay is about $700-1,000 dollars a month, although this can easily differ.

If it is a live-in position, you will be living with the family but will be provided with your room, effectively saving on accommodation costs. Most nannying jobs in Turkey are offered as live-in positions. If it is a live-out position, you will have to sort out your living arrangements, or if you applied through an agency, they might be able to provide cheaper or shared housing.

Work Permits

If the foreign worker is in their country of residence, they can send the necessary documents via courier or agency. However, if they live in Turkey, they will need to have a valid residence permit for at least 6 months. You will need to prepare their application with the documents you (the employer), add their birth certificate and criminal record and submit it to the Turkish embassy when returning to their country.

Documents – Applying with a Valid Residence Permit

As an employer, if the worker you will hire has a residence permit, you will need the following when using the Ministry of Labor website:

  • The application letter you will pen to be able to employ a foreigner as a domestic helper,
  • A photocopy of their residence permit (+ foreign ID number)
  • A translated and notarized copy of their passport,
  • A biometric photograph of the worker (must be taken within the last 6 months)
  • A photocopy of your identity card as the employer
  • A copy of your identity register and residence document (ikametgah) showing where the helper will work
  • Your registered e-mail address and electronic signature

*Will also need a power of attorney if an agency or legal consultant makes the application.

As the employer, you will be asked to provide information such as the school and department they graduated from. Their phone number, marital status, residence address abroad, domestic residence address (in Turkey, live-in or live-out). A detailed description of the foreigner's perspective job, an explanation of your reasoning for hiring a foreign worker instead of a Turkish citizen, etc.

Documents – Applying without a Residence Permit

If the worker does not have a residence permit yet, they will need to submit the following to the Turkish embassy:

  • Petition for application to the embassy
  • Fixed-term work contract for domestic services (must be prepared as 2 copies, 1 copy to be submitted to the embassy)
  • Notarized letter of undertaking (taahhütname; issued by the employer)
  • Birth certificate of the foreign personnel
  • Criminal record of the foreign personnel

If the application is successful, they will receive a reference number from the embassy to further the work permit process and apply to the Labor Ministry.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Process a Work Permit Application?

Following the law, duly filed work permit applications are finalized by the Ministry of Labor within 30 days at the latest, provided there is no missing information or invalid documents.

*Must make the application for the extension of work permits within a maximum of two months before the expiry date.

Q: Where Do I Pay the Fees for the Work Permit?

Once the application is accepted, as the employer, you must pay the so-called work permit fee to either Ziraat Bank, Vakıf Bank, or İşbank by specifying the foreigner's identification number. The listed prices are available on the Ministry of Labor website; therefore, you do not need to provide a receipt. However, you cannot make online payments.

You have 15 days to pay the fee from the time of notification or will cancel the work permit.

If the application is being made from abroad, the foreign giver will pay the work permit fees to the embassy.

SGK Premiums

As the employer, you are responsible for paying your employee's monthly SGK (social security) premiums to ensure they are medically insured.

After submitting the necessary documents, the employer will receive the workplace registration number and an e-declaration (e-bildirge) password. You will use this password to register the worker in the SGK system.

Note: The start date of the job is the date the work permit is approved.

Q: Who Should Apply for SGK and When?

As the employer, you must register the worker in the SGK system within 20 days after the worker's work permit is approved.

The monthly premium for 2021 is TL 1,341.56.

Q: Where Do I Apply?

You should apply to the SGK directorate your workplace is registered to (either within your district or the provincial branch).

Q: What Documents Do I Need?

  • Workplace declaration and its copy
  • Employer's statement of signature (imza beyannamesi)
  • Copy of the employer's identity card
  • Employer's residence document (ikametgah)
  • Work permit for the foreign worker

Warnings for Workers

If your work permit application is rejected, the same employer cannot reapply for one year.

Throughout your contract, as a foreign worker, you must have a valid passport and can only work for as long as you have a valid work permit.

Do not blindly trust your employer, especially when it comes to the monthly SGK payments. It is your responsibility to check your SGK status (make sure it is "active") every so often to see if your employer is making the necessary contributions. You can check this through e-devlet under "4A sigorta dökümü" (a breakdown of your insurance).

If your employer fails to make the payments on time, your work permit may be canceled within 2 months, leaving you as an illegal worker.

The same applies if you come to Turkey on a tourist visa and hope to be employed with promises from your prospective employer that they will apply for a work permit once you get there. However, coming on a tourist visa valid for 15 or 30 days in such cases is risky. If this employer turns back on their promise or lies to you, saying they’ve applied for a permit when they haven’t, you could end up illegally overstaying and be subject to fines. Make sure you follow the procedures above as not to be in a legally compromising situation by applying for a residence permit before your visa expires.

If you are fired from your job or have decided to quit, your work permit effectively ends, meaning you have 10 days to leave the country or renew your residence permit not to overstay, pay a fine, or be deported.

If you have any questions regarding the procedure or would like to lodge a complaint, call 170, the helpline for Family, Labor, and Social Services.