Turkish Ankara Agreement

Immigration Options for Turkish nationals –Self Employed Business Person/Turkish worker

Are you a Turkish national? Is your spouse a Turkish National? In the UK or Abroad, but looking to come into the UK or switch your visa to a more permanent visa? Are you a British national married to a Turkish national and worried about the new spouse visa financial requirement, and can’t use the EU route? Are in UK as a student and looking to switch your visa?Well this post my just shine the light on an easier immigration option for you or your partner.

What is it?

Last week following my previous post I got a lot of request about the Ankara Visa for Turkish national and their spouse, I promised to post something this week summing up the Ankara Agreement.

The Turkish European Community Association Agreement (ECAA), also referred to as the Ankara Agreement, was entered into between EU member state and Turkish in 1963. I effectively froze the Immigration rule that were there at the time (which as you can imagine have evolved to be more restrictive since), so the laws that applied to Turkish national business migration, in 1973, when the UK became part of the agreement, still apply today.

Ok….Enough now with the boring history part, what does this mean to you today? Well! For ease of reference I have divided the agreement into two options:
1. Self Employed business Person
2. Worker

Option One: Self-Employed Business Person
Under this option if you are Turkish national and you want to establish yourself in business in the UK, you can apply to come to or remain here in the Turkish ECAA business category. This is a much easier route that then normal business visa (investor or interpersonal Visa) under normal Immigration Rules because your application will be considered under the business visa provisions that were in force in 1973.

Notable advantages of this option, compared to normal immigration rules are: No minimum level of investment required; No requirement of employment to a minimum number of people and the application fee is…. Wait for it… Free 

Certain documents are required to when applying for this type of visa e.g. someone has to shows he has the ability and skills to establish the proposed business; that you possess enough funds to establish the business etc. But they are all easy gathered with a clued up lawyer. A good business proposal that shows the clear intention is to establish a business would also be useful.

One does not have to establish a business from scratch, and has an option of joining an existing partnership for the company but needs to show that is going to be playing an active part in running the business.

Please note that under this category one has the option of applying from abroad. Or within the UK; Thus if you have been here as a student on completion of your study and want to start a business venture and set up a business you can switch into this Turkish ECAA business person visa.

Those on visit visa can also apply, subject to permission of the secretary of state. Dependents of Turkish ECAA businesspersons i.e partners (spouses, civil partners, unmarried and same sex partners) and children, allowed to join or accompany the Turkish business person/worker

If your application is successful then one is normally giving one year in the first instance and a further leave to remain can be extended at the end for another three years. There is a provision for settlement after four years this category.

Options two: Turkish Worker
This is an option if for Turkish national are already working legally in the UK and wanting to extend their stay.You could need to be legally employed in the UK (.i.e. have a visa that gives you permission to work such us student , Tier2 etc). If above applied then you will have certain rights under the Ankara Agremment which means that:- You can apply for further permission to stay in the UK after you have worked here for 1 year, so that you can continue to work for the same employer; You can change employers after you have been working here for 3 years, if you are continuing to work in the same occupation; and you can work in any type of job for any employer after you have been working here for 4 years. Normally one is allowed to apply for settelment (ILR) after 4 years.

Key to this option is that you must be LEGALLY EMPLOYED, meaning that you need prior leave to remain and cannot be working in breach of any legal conditionsa of stay or have entered on false documents.

The beauty of this options, again compared to normal immigration rules, is that: Your employment need only be “genuine and effective emplyement” meaning there is no reqirement on level of pay or for job to be permanent in nature ( thus for example a Turkish Student, who is allowed to work part-time, working few hours a week may qualify even working for Minmum wage); This route lead to settlement in 10 years lawful ( Tier 2 Visa now no longer automatically lead to settlement); there is no requirement for labour market test (at the job your doing can’t be done by any other person within the EU) and best of all, again, this application is Free! 

To sum-up the Ankara Agreement is one of the route that the Turkish nationals can use. It can also be an alternative option for a British spouse wishing to bring their Turkish husband but not able to do so under current spouse visa rules.
The requirements are more lenient than ordinal Immigration Rule on Investors and Entrepreneurships Visa.

Key point thus to note is that:

  • Settlement in 4 yrs ( for Business person ) or 10 yrs ( Worker)
  • No Labour market test,
  • No strict English test requirement (depends with type of work or business)
  • No minimum income or investment fund required
  • Application fee = FREE

Caveat: You need to have the correct paperwork in order to qualify for this route thought I have tried my level best to light the basic there several items that need to be sent in with the application. As an immigration solicitor, skilling in making such application I would be able to assist you making this application either for yourself or for your spouse.

I hope this has shed some lights to some of the questions that I have been asked in this forum. If you have any specific questions please feel free to email me