Turkish Workers UK Visa

Under the European Community Association Agreement with Turkey, the “Ankara Agreement”, a Turkish national might extend his leave whilst already legally living and working in the UK.

Who is this visa for?

If you are a Turkish national living and working in the UK it might be good news for you, as there is the possibility to apply to extend your stay in the UK as a Turkish worker.

This scheme is open, for example, to those who are in the UK as the spouse of British national or as a student allowed to work 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during vacation periods.

Nonetheless, there are still some other conditions to be met.

Immigration status requirements

First of all, you cannot be in breach of any immigration laws, or have entered the UK illegally. Therefore, you might not qualify if any of the following apply:

  • you have overstayed a previous period of leave beyond the 28 day grace period
  • you have entered or sought to enter the UK illegally
  • you have sought or obtained leave by deception, for example by making false representations or failing to disclose material facts in the application (fraudulent and abusive conduct)
  • you have breached conditions of leave to enter or remain, for example where you have worked in an occupation not authorised by your leave
  • you have made an asylum claim that has been discredited
  • you have previously used fraudulent or abusive conduct
  • you have unspent criminal convictions
  • you are liable to deportation

Hence, if you wish to apply for a Turkish visa, it is very important that you have followed immigration law and entered the UK legally, as you must be already present in the UK. You cannot apply for a Turkish worker visa from outside the UK.

Worker requirements

Secondly, you must have been working in the UK for at least one year for the same employer, and this employment must be genuine and effective. To be recognised as a worker you must be also duly registered as belonging to the UK’s labour force (e.g. paying national insurance contributions).

How long I can stay in the UK?

For how long your leave would be granted depends on how long you have already been working in the UK. There are three thresholds.

  • Working in the UK between 1 and 3 years for the same employer

If you have been a working in the UK between 1 and 3 years you might be granted a leave for up to 2 years, however you should continue to work for the same employer.

  • Working in the UK for 3 to 4 years for the same employer

If you have already worked in the UK between 3 and 4 years you should be granted leave of up to 1 year, however you will be able to change employer, but you should continue working in the same occupation.

  • Working in the UK for over 4 years in the same occupation

If you have been working in the UK for more then 4 years you should be granted leave of up to 3 years, and you can enjoy free access to any paid employment.

Benefits of Turkish worker visa

The main benefits of a Turkish worker visa is that the application is free of charge. To compare this, for example, with a Spouse visa, which costs £1033 plus the IHS Surcharge of £1000, from within the UK, this is definitely very good news for all those who can qualify under this route.

The Turkish worker visa is a good alternative for those who are already working in the UK and have leave as the spouse of a British national if for some reason they cannot continue to meet the minimum income threshold of £18,600. It also might be a good alternative for those here on a student visa who would like to continue living and working in the UK after finishing their studies.

Recent changes

Additionally, since 6th of July 2018 it is possible for Turkish workers and their family members to settle in the UK after 5 years of continuous residence. It is worth mentioning that previously it was not possible, however, you could qualify for ILR after 10 years of continuous and lawfully residence. So, now the rules allow a Turkish worker to settle much more quickly.

Moreover, to qualify for ILR under the Turkish workers route, only the most recent period of leave must be as a Turkish worker and the rest can be made up of a combination of leave as either:

• a Turkish ECAA worker

• a Tier 2 (General) migrant

• a Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) migrant

• a Tier 2 (Sportsperson) migrant

• a work permit holder

A Turkish worker visa is therefore currently worth considering, as it can save you some money or might help if you cannot meet the other strict immigration requirements. It allows you to settle quickly and can even count towards your 5 years continuous residence leave granted as a worker under a different category. However, you must remember the main condition; that you must already be working in the UK and wish to continue working in the UK.