Turkey, in an effort to improve the economic integration to global economy has undergone many changes in its legislation during the last decades. The modifications covers the many aspects of inflow and outflow of international labor force such as work permits, posting abroad, legal position and social security obligations of foreigners which is the most confusing issue we would like to discuss briefly.
Social security obligation of foreigners working or dealing with business in Turkey depends on, in general, whether they are;
- working under an employment contract or self-employed,
- residing abroad or in Turkey,
- posted to Turkey for a certain or an undefined period of time,
- the citizens of the countries Turkey has bilateral social security agreement with or not.
- Foreigners who are not in the scope of SSI
According to Law No 5510, Article 6/e foreigners who;
ü are sent to Turkey for a job by or on behalf of an organization established in a foreign country and who document to be subject to social insurance in the foreign country,
ü work in Turkey on his/her own name and account and reside abroad, and are subject to the social security legislation of that country, are not deemed to be insurance holders.
- Foreigners subject to Turkish SSI
ü Foreigners who work under an employment contract, excluding the citizens of countries with which Turkey has bilateral social security agreements, should register in Turkish social security scheme. Law No 5510, Article 4.
ü Without prejudice to provisions of international social security agreements self-employed persons (including company partners) are deemed to be insurance holders.
Social security obligations of work permit holders
Holders of work permit and work permit exemptions should be registered to SSI
- within 30 days as of approval of in country applications,
- within 30 days as of entry date in abroad application,
- employers who are employing foreigners must notify the SSI within the above stated time.
The provisions of security agreements to which Turkey is party are reserved.
Posting/Secondment/Foreigners Assigned to Turkey
In general; without prejudice to provisions of international social security agreements, employees who are temporarily assigned to Turkey by and on behalf of a foreign-based company don’t need to be insured (registered on SSI) in Turkey, provided that they can prove that they are insured in their home country and the assignment doesn’t exceed 3 months.
Posting Between Contracting Countries
Turkey has bilateral social security agreements with 25 countries. Provisions of these agreements will be applied instead of domestic legislation. Although the provisions regarding social security rights and obligations differ from country to country, the main points are as follows.
- Employed person: In case an employee is send by the employer to work temporarily on behalf of this employer in the other contracting country, that employee will continue to be subject to the legislation of sending country, on condition that posting period doesn’t exceed a certain period (i.e.24 calendar months) and the posting doesn’t aimed at replacing a previously posted person.
- Self-employed: In case a self-employed person temporarily transfers his business to other contracting country he will be subject to legislation of the first country, on condition that self-employed activity doesn’t exceed a certain period (i.e. 36 calendar months).
- These periods may be extended up to some periods of time depending on the agreement.
Status of Company Partners
- Turkish Citizens: In Turkey’s legislation associates of joint - stock companies who are also members to board of directors, active partners of commandite companies of which capitals are divided into shares, all partners of other company and maritime joint – adventures must be registered in SSI (in the scope of 4/b Bağ kur(Social Security Organization for Artisans and The Self-Employed).
- Foreign Partners and other self-employed:
ü Foreign partners of companies and other self-employed foreigners who reside abroad and are subject to the social security legislation of that country, are not obliged to register Turkish SSI.
ü In case a self-employed foreigner is subject to social insurance in his home country may remain within his own country’s social security system, on condition that he will provide documents of proof. This person need to apply to SSI with work permit and some documents (translated officially) showing that he is paying social security premiums in his home country or he is retired and receiving pension.
ü In case a self-employed foreigner who have no works subject to social security in his home country or in case there is no social security institution in his own country he must be registered Turkish SSI under the status of Bağkur (5510, 4/b).
ü Self-employed foreigners who cannot document their status they will be registered SSI ex officio.
Countries Turkey has Bilateral Social Security Agreements
Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, Quebec, Check Republic, Denmark, France
Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Libya, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.