Turkish Law Blog

Irregular Migration to Turkey

Yeliz Özçetin Yeliz Özçetin/ Ozcetin Law Firm
09 January, 2020
905

People have the right to freedom of movement freely. States manage their borders in a manner that respect national sovereignty while preventing irregular migration. Regular migration is a type of migration that occurs in compliance with the laws of the country of origin, transit and destination. According to border statistics of Turkish Republic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey entertained 39.488.401 foreign visitors in 2018. It is seen from statistics that citizens of Bulgaria, Georgia, Germany, Iran and Russia Federation are the most entered foreigners. There are many foreigners who visit Turkey to benefit from health services. or visit for touristic, commercial or education etc. purposes. If they aim to stay in Turkey beyond the duration of a visa or visa exemption or longer than ninety days should obtain a residence permit.

Some foreigners do not follow the legal procedures. Irregular migration. is defined as a movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit or receiving country. The subject of this article is irregular migration to Turkey.

A. Deportation Decision

The reasons of irregular migration may occur under several circumstances: Persons may enter in Turkey irregularly, for example with false documents or without crossing at an official border crossing point. They may reside in Turkey irregularly, for instance, in violation of the terms of an entry visa/residence permit or may be employed irregularly, for example they may have the right to reside but not to take up paid employment. The sanction of irregular migration is deportation.

Law on Foreigners and International Protection numbered 6458 has entered into force in 2014. Article 54 states reasons for deportation from Turkey. Subject to that Article, foreigners who are engaged in a criminal and/or international terrorism organization or who submit untrue information and false documents during the entry, visa and residence permit actions or who made their living from illegitimate means during their stay in Turkey or who pose a public order or public security or public health threat or who has overstayed their visa or the visa exemption period for more than ten days or, whose visas are cancelled or whose residence permits are cancelled or who overstayed the expiry date of the duration of their residence permit for more ten days without an acceptable reason or who are determined to be working without a work permit or who breach the terms and conditions for legal entry into or exit from Turkey or who are determined to have entered into Turkey despite an entry ban to Turkey or whose international protection claim has been refused or who fail to leave Turkey within ten days in cases where their residence permit renewal application has been refused or who are applicants or international protection beneficiaries solely when there are serious reasons to believe that they pose a threat to national security of the Turkey or who are applicants or international protection beneficiaries solely if they have been convicted upon a final decision for an offence constituting a public order threat.

Foreigners or their legal representative or their lawyers may appeal against the deportation decision to the administrative court within fifteen days as of the date of notification. The foreigners who have appealed against the deportation decision to the court shall also inform the authority that have ordered the removal regarding the appeal. The decision of the court on the appeal shall be final.

Without prejudice to the foreigner’s consent, they shall not be removed during the judicial appeal period or until after the finalization of the appeal proceedings. However, the foreigners who are engaged in a criminal and/or international terrorism organization and who pose a public order or public security or public health threat may be deported any time despite of trial related to deportation decision.

The exemptions are listed in Article 55. When there are serious indications for death penalty, torture, inhuman or degrading behavior or punishment o serious risk for health conditions, age or pregnancy, victims of human trafficking or victims of serious psychological, physical or sexual violence, deportation decision shall not be issued.

B. Administrative Detention Decision

The administration authority shall issue an administrative detention decision for those bear the risk of absconding or disappearing, who breached the rules of entry into and exit from to Turkey, who have used false or fabricated documents, who have not left Turkey after the expiry of the period granted to them to leave, without an acceptable excuse and who pose a threat to public order, public security or public health until deportation. The administrative detention decision may be appealed to the Judge of the Criminal Court of Peace.

Finally, foreigners should be aware of legal conditions to be completed to stay in Turkey and their rights when they are accused of illegal behaviors related to irregular migration.


Pursuant to Law numbered 7196 (Omnibus Bill) and dated 24.12.2019, applicable two conditions for foreigners have changed. According to recent changes, foreigners or their legal representative or their lawyers may appeal against the deportation decision to the administrative court within seven days as of the date of notification. (Previous clause included fifteen days.)

Also, the exemption demonstrated in Article 54 was removed. The foreigners who are engaged in a criminal and/or international terrorism organization and who pose a public order or public security or public health threat shall not be counted as an exemption to be deported any time despite of trial related to deportation decision. Without prejudice to the foreigner’s consent, they shall not be removed during the judicial appeal period or until after the finalization of the appeal proceedings.

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