Turkish citizens have two options available to them if they wish to settle in the United Kingdom. The first route to settlement which is popular and well known is under the Business Ankara Agreement route- ECAA1. Applicants are required to undertake research, prepare a viable business plan and have sufficient capital to invest in business in the UK. After completing 4 years in this category you will be entitled to settlement.
The second option available to Turkish citizens is the Turkish Worker’s visa route under ECAA2 which is not commonly known. If an applicant does not wish to invest in a business in the UK or simply does not have the funds then a Turkish Worker visa could be a practical option for you.
What are the requirements for a Turkish Worker visa?
The rights of Turkish workers are set out in Article 6(1) of decision 1/80 of the Association Council established by the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) with Turkey.
There are a number of strict requirements that you must meet in order for your application to remain in the UK as a Turkish Worker is to be successful.
- Firstly, you must be a Turkish national and
- secondly you must have worked lawfully in the UK for at least 1 year with leave in one of the following immigration categories:
- you must have leave as the spouse of a British or settled person without any restrictions on working in the UK or
- you are a holder of a work permit allowing you to work in the UK or
- you are a student allowed to work 20 hours a week during term time and full time during vacation periods
A Turkish citizen legally employed within the United Kingdom due to a visa type authorising work, has certain rights founded by the Association Council of the ECAA. These rights include:
- application for further authorisation to reside within the United Kingdom post one year of continual employment, allowing the continuation of work for the same employer if available
- employment switch post three years continual legal employment, if continuing to take work within the same occupation
- employment within any field of work after four years of employment and legal residency
In the instance that an application is successful, the applicant will be granted full permission to reside within the United Kingdom as a Turkish ECAA worker.
What are the advantages of a Turkish Workers visa?
Unlike other nationals, Turkish citizens have a less stringent set of requirements to follow to be permitted to work in the UK under the Turkish Workers visa scheme. The main benefits compared to non-Turkish visa nationals are as follows:
- The application does not attract a Home Office fee
- You are not required to meet a financial maintenance threshold
- You are not required to undertake an English language test.
- There are no requirements imposed as to your level of salary; Under European Union (EU) law, neither the nature of the employment relationship, the origin of the funds, nor the level of remuneration matters.
- There are no restrictions on the types of employment you can enter. This gives you greater flexibility.
- There is no requirements for your employer to undertake a Labour Market test. Your employer is not required to advertise your job in the UK job market to settled nationals before the employment is offered you. This is one less obstacle to meet giving you an added advantage over applicants who must compete for jobs under Tier 2 work permit category.
How long you can you stay?
The length of time you can stay and what job you can do depends on how long you’ve legally worked in the UK.
|How long you’ve worked in the UK||Length of permission to be in the UK||What you can do|
|1 to 3 years||Up to 2 years||Continue to work for the same employer|
|3 to 4 years||Up to 1 year||Change employer, but in the same occupation|
|4+ years||Up to 3 years||Work in any occupation for any employer|
Am I eligible for indefinite leave to remain?
Turkish citizens residing under the ECAA will be unable to make application to reside within the United Kingdom permanently, also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’. You will need to continue working in the UK for a total period of ten years in order to be eligible for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of 10 years long residence.
Can I bring my dependants?
“Family members” are defined as spouses, civil partners, unmarried partners and children. Applicants can also seek permission for any dependants to gain residency within the United Kingdom.
How can we help?
In order to make a successful application you would need to satisfy the above requirements. If you are unsure as to whether you qualify for a Turkish Worker visa, our team of solicitors can advise you as to whether you meet the requirements and what options are available to you to remain in the UK.