Working in Izmir?

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Working in Izmir

Serving as the third largest exporting region in Turkey, Izmir has been an important part of the wider Turkish economy since the Ottoman Empire. There are many employment opportunities in the trade and service sectors. Expats planning to work in Izmir need a work permit. Check out the InterNations Expat Guide for more information.

Local Economy

Izmir's local economy is divided into four main sectors: industry (30.5% of the economy), trade and related services (22.9%), transportation and communication (13.5%), and agriculture (7.8%). The majority of its economic output is based around its port, which has been an important part of the wider Turkish economy since the Ottoman Empire.

Today, Izmir's port accounts for 6% of all Turkish exports, and Izmir is the third largest exporting region in the country, behind Istanbul and Bursa. It also imports 4% of all the goods imported by Turkey, and is the country's fifth largest importer. In addition, the port accounts for almost 90% of all imports into the surrounding region.

Expatriates living and working in Izmir tend to do so in senior or technical positions at its port, or in related industries like shipping and logistics. There is an increasing call for English teachers in Izmir, which is drawing more expatriates to the city.

Work Permits for Izmir

Foreigners and expatriates wanting to work in Izmir will need a work permit. The Turkish work permit application process requires each application to be submitted in duplicate: once by the expatriate to their local embassy or consulate in their home country and once by their Turkish employer to the Turkish Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

Expatriates must therefore have secured work in Izmir before applying for a work permit. In order to protect its economy, Turkey has placed strict regulations on work permits for foreigners and expatriates, and as such for a work permit to be granted your prospective employer must prove that your role cannot be filled by a member of the local Turkish population.

In addition, there are a number of professions in which foreigners are not allowed to work, including mining, diving, maritime navigation, working on ships, and professional occupations like medicine or in the legal system.

Income Taxation in Izmir

Expatriates living and working in Izmir will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. However, your residential status will determine the limitations of your tax liability. If you live and work in Izmir for more than six months in the fiscal year, you are classed a resident for tax purposes and will pay income tax at Turkish rates on your worldwide income. On the other hand, if you live and work in Izmir for less than six months a year, you are classed as a non-resident for tax purposes, and will therefore only pay income tax at Turkish rates on your Turkish income.

The tax rates in 2014 for expatriates working in Izmir were as follows:

  • Up to 10,000 TRY - 15%
  • 10,000 - 25,000 TRY  - 20%
  • 25,000 - 88,000 TRY - 27%
  • Over 88,000 TRY  - 35% 

Sven Baudach

"My business partners, also mainly expats, and me, we always use the wonderful InterNations Events as an informal get-togethers."

Maggy Roswick

"With all the great information and contacts provided by InterNations, it was no big deal to get settled in Istanbul."

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