Advances in Applied Sociology
2012. Vol.2, No.1, 37-46
Published Online March 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/aasoci) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/aasoci.2012.21005
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 37
Foreign Workers without Work Permit in Istanbul:
A Sociological Study
Tülin Günşen İçli1, Hanifi Sever2
1Department of Sociology, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
2Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Zonguldak, Turkey
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Received January 30th, 2012; revised February 28th, 2012; accepted March 13th, 2012
Economic inequality is one of the major reasons for current migration issues for both individuals and na-
tions. Other significant reasons are threatening environment, natural disasters (drought, scarce resources,
earthquake, etc.) and epidemic illnesses. Countries try to achieve their large-scale development plans and
service plans so that international capital flows and service and goods are imported and exported as well
as information exchange and migration of workforce are experienced. Certain crime types have gained a
global character as a result of new world order accompained by globalisation and it moves between coun-
tries. Both illegal migration and international workers without work permit are among such crime types.
This study aims to identify the reasons for foreign people who came Istanbul, leading to have their pro-
files. Another aim of the study is to analyse the position of people from the former Communist countries
that are relatively new established as a result of new world order of 1990’s and that are experiencing a
process of adoptation to the capitalist economy.
Keywords: Working without Work Permit; Migration; Foreign People
Today nearly 500,000 foreign people entry to and work in
the EU countries illegally as a result of such factors as EU’s
project on “freedom, security and justice”, economic wealth of
this region and a significant gap between north and south (İçli
& Sever, 2008).
The question of why people with different cultural back-
grounds prefer to live in different countries can be accounted
for using quantative evidence within the framework of theore-
tical approaches. In short, one of the frequently discussed topics
within the migration theories is about those working in foreign
countries without working permit.
Certain crime types have gained a global character as a result
of new world order accompained by globalisation and it moves
between countries. Both illegal migration and international work-
ers without work permit are among such crime types.
EU has experienced a regional integration. It has also ex-
perienced the Single European Act and Schengen Agreemant
leading to elimination of internal border checks. Therefore, such
topics as migration, right of asylum, visa and working permit
have become frequently debated issues.
Thus, the EU countries can be regarded as “target countries
as they are subject to intense migration. Additionally, it should
be noted that Turkey is both a target and a transition country to
the EU countries for people from those countries that are ex-
periencing serious problems, i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan,
It is known that current international commercial, economic,
technical, social and political collaboration has improved. Coun-
tries try to achieve their large-scale development plans and
service plans so that international capital flows and service and
goods are imported and exported as well as information ex-
change and migration of workforce are experienced. Economic,
commercial and industrial development leads to wealth as well
as to the need for work supply. Employers need educated and
qualified workforce and when they can not meet this need lo-
cally, they try to meet it through international workforce.
In terms of security issues, despite the researches suggesting
that international people are much more subject to criminal be-
haviour (Allen, 1999; Barker et al., 2002; Chesney-Lind & Lind,
1986; de Albuquerque & McElroy, 1999; Fujii & Mak, 1980;
Kelly, 1993), this study deals with developing the profiles of
criminal international people in Istanbul.
Employment Rights of Foreign People in Turkey
The right to work is secured under the 48. Article of the con-
stitution and regarded as among basic public rights in the Turk-
ish legal system. It is also recognised in regard to foreign em-
ployees. However, this right is limited by the 16. Article of the
constitution in accordance with international legislation for for-
Within this framework, requirements and arrangements for
working in Turkey for foreign people are given in the code of
work permit and related regulations. Moreover, employment in
different job areas is particularly organized in the related laws.
Until the enforcement of the code of work permit (from 1923
to now) more than seventy legal arrangements were made in
regard to foreign employment in Turkey. In former regulations
there was a multi-centred and distributed structure, therefore
foreign employment was not been effectively organized.
In the code of work permit and related regulations, signify-
cant new practices are offered in regard to foreign employment.
In short, this code radically changed the conditions for work
permit and built a new system for work conditions. The condi-
tions offered by this new system are significant for both the
foreign employees and the employers.
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
Those who work in Turkey without bearing a work permit
commit the crime of “working without permit” and those who
employ these persons commit the crime of “employing illegal
Modernization Theory states that if market mechanism func-
tion following free market economy principles without any in-
tervention, there can be a balance between those countries from
which people migrate and host countries. Therefore, migration
occurs from those regions where development rate is relatively
low to those regions where it is relatively high. It decreases the
need for employment whereas it also decreases the need for
supply (Turner, 1999; Rosenberg & Birdzell, 1992: p. 78).
Mutual job market theory argues that immigrant workers are
needed by developed countries (Piore, 1979). Migration changes
based on the characteristics of workforce need. In other words,
the aims of the immigrant workers are shaped in accordance
with the economic background of the target country. Job mar-
kets in target countries are categorized into several parts. Local
workers (national citizens) have much more attractive jobs while
immigrant workers often work in 3D jobs (dirty, dangerous and
difficult). Furthermore, as a production factor immigrant em-
ployee have much more flexible pattern in contrast to local work-
ers (Bijak, 2006: p. 10). Employee supply and preferences can be
changed and immigrant workers may be subject to much more
difficult working hours and conditions than those of local work-
ers (Massey et al., 2002: pp. 431-466).
Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin’s differential opportunity
theory states that those persons of traditional societies who feel
themselves underachieved are likely to search for opportunities
to be succesful (Cloward & Ohlin, 1960: p. 239). Therefore,
they may tend to migrate. However, those who cannot legally
migrate or who cannot find a job in their native countries or
who are desperate in regad to find a job may illegally migrate.
Theory of inequality and unbalance emphasizes the inequali-
ties and unbalance in social system. It argues that negative con-
ditions lead individual to migrate, for instance inequal wage,
common unemployment, etc.
Parsons’ AGIL (Adaptation, Goal Attainment, Integration,
Latency) formula, like the theory of inequality and unbalance,
states that social integration is possible only when scarce re-
sources are fairly distributed. On the other hand, Parsons’ vol-
untarily act principle argues that individuals make choices
about different acts taking scarce resources into account (Par-
sons, 1951). Immigration means that persons think about how
they can best benefit from scarce resources and then, act based
on this reflection.
In the rational decision-making process, an individual has the
aim of improving their life quality through migration. Addi-
tionally, he makes decisions over the issues of education, fi-
nance, health-care and security. This process of decision-mak-
ing is personal. Choosing a certain thing over the other options
means thinking about expectations and gains. Therefore, migra-
tion is a result of a conscious and informed process of decision-
Parekh’s migration theory provides a totally different ac-
count of migration. It uses the opportunity theory as a starting
point. It argues that if there was a workforce supply in a coun-
try, migration would fill this gap. However, when this supply is
met or employement is limited, migration will stop and those
migrants who cannot find a job in the target country will go
back to their native country (Parekh, 1997: p. 40).
Toynbee’s challenge and response theory (1946) adopts an
approach that is very close to the Marxist thinking. It argues
that each social change can be interpreted in terms of the proc-
ess of challenge and response. Each individual has some degree
potential energy. Given that universe is a challenging force for
humans, they can be seen as creatures who resist and respond
this force. For instance, they may give up living in their native
lands to overcome the poverty and they keep up living in a
foreign country to make money although local people will try to
International migrants as well as illegally employed persons
are two significant topics that have been attracted by several
disciplines (Böhm, 1998; Houben, 1999; Sohler, 1999; Messin-
ger, 2000; Rechling, 2004; Tschernitz, 2004).
Europa at the 1900’s experienced serious unemployment pro-
blems. Therefore, citizens of the European countries migrated
to the countries of New World (Australia, USA, Canada, New
Zealand etc.). More than twenty-six million people were reported
to migrate to the USA during the period of 1870-1920. These
migrant people worked in these countries in the jobs related to
transportation, communication, railway systems, etc. (Solimano,
Of the people who migrated to the USA for employment
during the period of 1870-1920, one-third was single, male and
independent of their family members. Moreover, one fourth of
these migrants were young people and their ages ranged from
sixteen to forty (Solimano, 2010).
Except for wars and violence acts, migration mostly occurs
due to economic reasons. It is closely similar to the balance of
supply-demand. Migration that occurs due to basicly economic
reasons becomes attractive beacuse of higher wage in the target
country, regular working hours and higher levels of life quality.
Therefore, countries of new world order become better and pro-
ductive in terms of technology, commerce, industry and finance.
However, working conditions of migrant workers began to be
less attractive over time. Although their life quality in the target
country is much higher than that of native country, their wage is
much lower than that of native citizens.
After the 1920’s, England experienced massive migration by
Irish people. More than half of Italian migrants tended to go to
France and Germany. France and the Netherlands also experi-
enced migration flows from Belgium. In the new world order,
Canada and the USA are experiencing massive migration (Hat-
ton & Williamson, 1998). In short, most countries experience
migration with the aim of employment (Chiswick & Hatton,
In recent times, typology of immigrants as well as target
countries has changed. Countries of new world order tried to
understand and deal with this fact of migration. For instance,
they carried out researches on the number of illegal migrants.
Although exact number of migrants cannot be known, there
are ways of estimating these figures. Biffl (2002) carried out
series of interviews and concluded that there are thousands of
children with the age range of 6 - 15 in Australia.
Another way to estimate the rate of migration is the compari-
sion of figures related to illegat migrants caught by security
forces. For instance, Australia decreased the number of illegal
migrants in 2003. In 2004, a total of 38,530 illegal migrants
were caught and this figure is 14% less than that in 2003. Illegal
migrants identified are from Russian Federation, India, Moldovia
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
and Romania. Those who illegally live in the country are from
Bulgaria, Moldovia, Serbia and Montenegro (IOM, 2005).
Matuschek (2002) states that there is a methodological com-
plication in regard to the studies of illegally employed migrants.
He also focuses on informal economy and illegal migration.
Schneider developed another approach towards black econ-
omy in Austria in which cash flows in the market. It is based on
the estimation of spot buy of goods and services in black econ-
omy (Schneider, 2003). He states that higher levels of cash
flows are reflection of the expanded black economy. Therefore,
the situation of illegally employed migrants in past periods could
In Polond, the rates of both registered and non-registered
workers are employed in order to reveal the case of black econ-
omy. In 2000, the number of registered workers was 885,000,
while it was 924,000 in 2003 (Flaszyńska & Zarański, 2005: p. 68).
However statistics of Polond Central Statistics Office (CSO)
indicate that the number of registered employees is 12.6 million
(CSO, 2007: p. 19). These rates are used in order to identify the
profile of illegally employed migrants in the country.
Like in the past, foreign people in the host countries work in
difficult, dangerous and dirty jobs for fewer wages today. More-
over, several jobs are negatively affected by migrant employees,
for instance, construction, agriculture, commercial jobs, care
services and domestic services (CSO, 2005: p. 14). Addition-
ally, it is reported that illegal migrants are also employed at
hotels and restaurants (Biletta & Meixner, 2005: p. 5). They al-
so work in such jobs as interpreters, language educators, fi-
nance advisors, computer specialists who are qualified workforce
jobs (CSO, 2005: p. 19; Golinowska, 2005: p. 98; Kicinger &
Kloc-Nowak, 2008: p. 5). Camarota (2004) argues that income
of illegal migrants is less than that of local people. Moreover,
two-thirds of them do not have university education.
States’ visa policy may be related to illegal migration and il-
legal employment. In those countries of which economy is hea-
vily based on tourism income illegal migration is experienced
much more frequently. Until October 2003, those from Ukraina,
Belarus and Russia who entered to Poland without visa domi-
nated the informal sectors (Kicinger & Kloc-Nowak, 2008: pp.
8-9). The findings of the study by Iglicka (2000) in 1995 indi-
cate that there were more than 500 thousand people from U-
kraine. Additionally Bartoszewics (2006: pp. 2-3) found that in
2005, 45% of 10.5 million tourists from Ukraina, Belarus and
Russia came to Poland for economic purposes (for having jobs).
Although research findings suggest that high levels of illegal
migrants work without work permit in the target countries, offi-
cial statistical figures in this regard are not so high. In order to
account for this trouble, the data provided by the Ministry of La-
bour and Social Policy and of Zawadzka and Zarański (2003: p.
208) were analysed to find out those foreigners who were ar-
rested between 2002 and 2006 (Table 1).
Hungary is one of those countries that has struggled against
migration and illegal employment. During the 1990’s migration
Illegally employed foreign origin people in Poland.
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Toplam
2080 2711 1795 1680 1718 9984
Source: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, 2006 and Zawadzka & Zarański,
in Hungary became a visible social, economic and political pro-
blem. Although the number of foreigners was steady during the
1980’s, it increased during the 1990’s (Juhász, 1999: p. 4). The
reason for this increase may be the war experienced during the
related period of time in the Balkans.
In 1991, 29,000 foreigners were caught at the Hungarian bor-
der. This figure increased to 10,000 both in 1996 and 1997. It is
found that 70% of the illegal migrants caught planned to use
Hungary as a transition point (Juhász, 1999: p. 7).
As a result of visa agreements, those from Romania, former
Yugoslavia and former USSR could easily entered to Hungary.
Since they cannot move to other affluent European countries,
they stayed at and work in Hungary. Juhász (1999) argues that
these migrants often worked in the fields of counstruction, ag-
riculture, tourism, entertainment, restaurants, textile industry and
The case of Thailand is similar to those of other countries.
Thailand has a relatively better economy. Because of economic
problems experienced in its neighbour countries such as Myan-
mar and Cambodia, political instability and overpopulation, peo-
ple from these countries migrate to Thailand and work there
(Huguet & Punpuing, 2005). The other example for it is the mi-
gration of people from Somali and Ethiopia to Yemen (de Regt,
The other studies (Hatton & Williamson, 1998; IOM, 2005;
Kicinger & Kloc-Nowak, 2008; Iglicka, 2000; Bartoszewics,
2006; Juhász, 1999; Huguet & Punpuing, 2005; de Regt, 2007;
İçli & Sever, 2008) emphasize another significant point: those
who officially and legally enter a country but do not exit. In
other words, an illegal migrant may enter a country legally.
Therefore, it is useful to analyse data about those who enter and
exit the country in order to have a full understanding of this
Illegal Foreigners in Turkey
Turkey is both a transit country and a target country due to
its geographical position and status. Therefore, its citizens have
migrated to European countries and the USA to work while it is
subject to illegal migration of the people from nearby countries.
During the 1960’s Turkey sent workers to foreign countries
to support its development. The other significant basis of Tur-
key’s economy has been tourism. Since tourism was supported
due to merely economic purposes, Turkey adopted relatively
flexible visa procedures. Although target population for Turkey’s
tourism was affluent European people, toruists have been mostly
from Russia, Ukraina, Moldovia, Romania, Bulgaria and Arme-
nia. However, soon the situation has become an issue of for-
eigners who get income as a result of prostitution and illegal
employment. This problem has led to economic distortion and
transborder cash flows. Within this context, flexible visa policy
that was originally developed for Turkey’s own interest has be-
come in favor of people from neighbour countries.
Formerly, migrants were going out and coming back in as
required by visa procedures. Currently they do not have to
come back their native countries and continue to work in Tur-
key although their visa period is over. In other words, perma-
nent illegal migrants replace the flyer migrants. This fact is
clearly seen in the numerical findings given in Table 5.
Istanbul is driving force of Turkey in terms of population,
workforce, industralization and economic capacity. Its geopoli-
tic position is a point of intersection for migration from Asia to
Europa, transit transportation and commercial flows. Therefore,
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 39
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
related data should be analysed in order to have a complete
understanding of its position.
Table 2 presents data given by Istanbul Police Department
about foreigners who were involved in criminal and administra-
tive crimes in Istanbul during the periods of 1995-2000 and
During the period of 1995-2007, they committed mostly the
crimes of illegal employment, prostitution and visa violation
(admisnistrative crime). The detailed numarical data on these
crimes are given in Table 3.
Table 3 indicates that the crimes of illegal employment and
prostitution have increased since 1995.
However, the rates of these both crimes were much lower
during the period of 1995-2000. On the other hand, the crime of
visa violation has significantly increased since 2001.
Foreigners who are party in criminal behavior and administrative cri-
mes in Istanbul during the period of 1995-2000.
Source: (İEM, 2008).
Distribution of frequently committed crimes by foreigners in Istanbul
during the period of 1995-2007.
Year/Crime Illegal Employment Prostitution Visa violation
1995 - 565 653
1996 485 1835 1295
1997 2,032 2448 1168
1998 3,738 3123 2207
1999 4,780 3013 1511
2000 2,453 1685 2033
2001 148 894 2965
2002 351 527 1561
2003 449 407 1893
2004 378 829 2195
2005 229 455 2505
2006 285 71 3582
2007 949 244 1662
Total 16,277 16,096 25,230
Source: (İEM, 2008).
The findings of Turkey Statistics Institution (2008) are given
in the following table in regard to foreign passengers who en-
tered to and exited Turkey during the period of 2000-2007. It is
clearly seen that beginning from 2000 to 2007 the number of
people that exited Turkey is not as much as those who entered
As seen in the Table 4, foreign-origined people entered Tur-
key but they did not exit the country. This gap may be a result
of visa violance or that they get residence permit. However, it is
also likely that they earn money through illegal employment in
order to maintain their life.
The data of Turkey Statistics Institution (TUİK) also provide
the numbers of people who committed the crime of illegal em-
ployment by their origin of country as well as their entrance
and exit figures during the period of 2001-2007.
The data presented in Table 5 suggest the following facts
about people from different countries:
1) The number of people from Turkmenistan who entered
Turkey had increased seven times during the period of 2000-
2007. However, the number of them who exited Turkey during
the same period had increased only five times. Thus, Turkmeni-
stan is one of the countries whose citizens mostly come to Tur-
2) The number of people from Georgia that entered Turkey
had increased six times in 2007 on the contrary to the figure of
3) The number of people from Russian Federation, Bulgaria
and Iran that entered Turkey had increased four times in 2007
on the contrary to the figure of 2000. The increase for the same
period for people from Belarus is nearly ten times.
In the study, the case of people who legally or illegally en-
tered to Turkey and arrested because of illegal employment
between January 2004 and December 2007 was analysed. Since
all individual data were accessed, no sampling was employed.
Data were analysed and descriptive study was carried out. The
data were presented as tables of one-way frequency.
All participants of the study committed the crime of illegal
employment in Turkey. Additionally, some participants com-
mitted the crime of visa violence or delibaretely injury or prop-
erty damage, etc. Majority of them legally entered to Turkey.
However, touristic or student visa bearers cannot have work
Distribution of foreigners who entered and exited Turkey during the
period of 2001-2007.
Passenger/Year Entry Exit
2000 10,428,153 9,991,004
2001 11,619,909 11,276,531
2002 13,248,176 12,921,982
2003 13,956,405 13,701,419
2004 17,548,384 17,202,996
2005 21,124,886 20,522,621
2006 19,819,833 19,275,948
2007 23,340,911 23,017,081
Total 131,125,657 127,909,582
Source: (TUIK, 2008).
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 41
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
Therefore, a total of 1841 people who were arrested due to
illegal employment in Istanbul during the years of 2004, 2005,
2006 and 2007 participated in the study and their files were
accessed. Their profiles were developed including their gender,
age and nationality. Additionally, other crimes committed by
them are also analysed, specificially concerning place of crime.
A total of 1841 people were arrested by either police or gen-
darmerie due to illegal employment in Istanbul during the pe-
riod of 2004-2007. Since in order to work in Turkey, a for-
eigner has to have a work permit, they were deported due to
violation of affiliated administartive laws.
As seen in the Table 6, the number of illegally employed
foreign people was increased from 378 in 2004 to 949 in 2007.
As seen in the Table 7, the majority of the participants are
male (61.6%). Citizens of twenty-four different countries were
arrested by police or gendarmerie due to illegal employment in
Istanbul during the period of 2004-2007. The rate of Asian
people who committed crimes (legal employment and another
crime) is found to be 75.5%. The rates of those from Europa
and other continents are found to be 24.3% and 0.2%, respec-
In terms of orgin of country, it is found that people from the
following countries often committed crimes in İstanbul: Turk-
menistan (24.8%), Azerbaijan (17.3%) and Georgia (13.3%).
Majority of the participants as seen in Table 8 committed the
crime of illegal employment and were deported (72.9%). Only
1.8% of them illegally entered to Turkey. However, those who
legally entered Turkey also committed several crimes. 23% of
the participants committed visa violation while illegally employed.
Thus, they committed two distinct crimes that require deplora-
In Turkey, foreign origin people are deported when they com-
mitted crimes that can be either judicial or administrative crimes.
In terms of crimes committed by the participants, it is found
that only 4.1% of the participants committed judicial crimes in
addition to the crime of illegal employment. The remaining
individuals were deported due to committing the administratibe
More than half of the foreigners who committed a crime
were arrested by police (69.4%). 30.6% of them were arrested
by gendarmerie. These rates also indicate the fact that they
committed crimes in urban areas (Table 9).
In terms of age distribution of the participants (Table 10), it
is seen that more than half of them were in the age range of 19 -
30 (59.8%). It is followed by those with age range of 31 - 40. A
considerable point in age distribution is that foreign origined
Number of illegally employed foreign people during the period of
Year Number of illegally employed foreigners
Distribution of illegally employed foreigners by their gender and country
of origin during the period of 2004-2007 (percentage).
Gender n %
Male 1134 61.6
Female 703 38.2
Travesty 4 0.2
Total 1841 100.0
Asia 1390 75.5
Europa 449 24.3
Africa 1 0.1
America 1 0.1
Total 1841 100.0
Illegal foreign workers
Turkmenistan 457 24.8
Azerbaijan 318 17.3
Georgia 244 13.3
Bulgaria 143 7.8
Ukraine 114 6.2
Russian Federation 113 6.1
Moldovia 111 6
Iran 99 5.4
Romania 78 4.2
Armenia 58 3.2
Belarus 37 2
Uzbekistan 35 1.9
Tunusia 6 0.3
Kyrgyzstan 6 0.3
Afghanistan 4 0.2
Lebanon 3 0.2
Philliphines 3 0.2
Mongolia 3 0.2
Israil 2 0.1
Macedonia 2 0.1
China 2 0.1
England 1 0.1
Canada 1 0.1
Kenya 1 0.1
Total 1841 100
Secondary types of crime committed by those illegally employed foreign-
ers in Istanbul during the period of 2004-2007.
Crime types n %
Only illegal employment 1342 72.9
Visa violation 423 23
Illegal entrance 34 1.8
Property damage 13 0.7
Intentionally injury 10 0.5
Forgery 7 0.4
Loot 6 0.3
Rape 3 0.2
Robbery 2 0.1
Fraud 1 0.1
Total 1841 100.0
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
Law enforcement force that arrested illegally employed foriegners in Tur-
key during the period of 2004-2007.
Law enforcement force n %
Police 1278 69.4
Gendarmerie 563 30.6
Total 1841 100.0
Age distribution of foreigners who were illegally employed in Istanbul
during the period of 2004-2007.
Age n %
Younger than 18 116 6.3
19 - 30 1101 59.8
31 - 40 391 21.2
41 - 50 176 9.6
Older than 50 57 3.1
Total 1841 100.0
juveniles younger than 18 years old were also illegally employed
in Istabul (6.3%).
As seen in the Table 11, 82.5% of the participants were ille-
gally employed in the Europa side of Istanbul. Istanbul has a
total of thirty-nine districs. Illegal employment is found to be
committed in thirty of these districts. Those districts where illegal
employment is frequent are Fatih (27%), Büyükçekmece (8.9%)
and Çatalca (6.1%).
In terms of gender distribution (Table 12), it is found that
61.6% of the participants were male. It is also found that 46.5%
of females worked illegally in Fatih. It is followed by Şişli
(12.4%) and Kadıköy (8.1%). Males are found to be illegally
employed in Fatih (15%), Büyükçekmece (12.3%) and Çatalca
The other interesting finding of the study is that males are
much more common than females in regard to the participants:
Turkmenistan (71.6%), Azerbaijan (86.5%), Georgia (72.1%),
Iran (98%), and Romania (83.3%). On the other hand, females
from Ukraina (96.5%) and Russia (96.5%) are much more
common. All people from Belarus are found to be females (Ta-
Research suggests that foreign origined people become vic-
tims of crime in the countries where they migrate (Barker et. al.,
2002; Bentley & Page, 2001; Fujii & Mak, 1980; İçli, 2007;
Pizam & Mansfeld, 1996; Prideaux, 1994; Tarlow, 2000; Walm-
sley et al., 1983). However, the current study has found that
27.1% of 1841 foreign origined people committed crimes against
the state or local people in addition to the crime of illegal em-
ployment. It clearly shows that migrants are not only victims of
criminal behavior but also the agents of criminal behavior.
As stated earlier, the number of people who were illegally
employed in Istanbul during the period of 2004-2007 is 1841.
In 2007, the crime of illegal employment increased. The basic
within the project of KADIM (struggle against off-the book
Areas of illegal employment crime committed by foreign origin people
in Istanbul during the period of 2004-2007.
Crime area n %
Asia side 324 17.5
Europa side 1518 82.5
Total 1841 100.0
Related district n %
Fatih 497 27
Büyükçekmece 163 8.9
Çatalca 113 6.1
Şişli 105 5.7
Eyüp 98 5.3
Kadıköy 96 5.2
Ümraniye 77 4.2
Silivri 68 3.7
Küçükçekmece 61 3.3
Gaziosmanpaşa 58 3.2
Other 505 27.4
Total 1841 100.0
Places of crimes committed by foreign origin people based on gender in
Istanbul during the period of 2004-2007.
District/Gender n % n %
Fatih 170 15 327 46.5
Büyükçekmece 140 12.3 23 3.3
Çatalca 101 8.9 12 1.7
Şişli 18 1.6 87 12.4
Eyüp 85 7.5 12 1.7
Kadıköy 39 3.4 57 8.1
Ümraniye 70 6.2 7 1
Silivri 43 3.8 25 3.6
Other 468 41.3 153 21.7
Total 1143 100.0 703 100.0
Gender distribution of foreigners who were illegally employed in Is-
tanbul during the period of 2004-2007.
Country/Gender n % n %
Turkmenistan 327 71.6 130 28.4
Azerbaijan 275 86.5 41 12.9
Georgia 176 72.1 68 27.9
Bulgaria 67 46.9 76 53.1
Ukraina 4 3.5 110 96.5
Russia 4 3.5 109 96.5
Moldovia 44 39.6 66 59.5
Iran 97 98 2 2
Romania 65 83.3 13 16.7
Armenia 47 81 11 19
Belarus - - 37 100.0
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 43
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
reason for this increase is thought to be the attempts made em-
ployment) to reveal the related cases. Within the KADIM pro-
ject, Istanbul Governorship coordinates the efforts of security
forces, employment inspectors, and other related institutions.
Therefore, concrete steps are taken to struggle against illegal
As stated in the literature review, Parekh argues that if there
is a workforce supply in a country, migration will fill this gap.
However, when this supply is met or employement is limited,
migration will stop and those migrants who cannot find a job in
the target country will go back to their native country. For the
case of İstanbul, it can be suggested that certain job types need
cheaper workforce in regard to both gender. Citizens of under-
developed countries earn less money in their native countries so
that job opportunities in other countries attract them. Particu-
larly in Istanbul there is no employment limitation or the end of
demand. Therefore, the participants seemed not to go back their
own country although they could not find a job. Rather, they
illegally worked until they were deported.
It is found that illegal migrants are mostly from Turkmeni-
stan (24.8%), Azerbaijan (17.3%) and Georgia (13.3%). The
rates of people from these three countries exceed the half of the
total number of participants. The other countries of which peo-
ple come to Turkey frequently are mostly the former USSR
countries or those that have historical ties with Turkey.
At this point it is necessary to take Parsons’s theory into ac-
count suggesting that inequalities and unbalanced social struc-
ture within social system cause to migration and illegal work-
In fact, economic unfairness and increasing rates of unem-
ployment in the source countries result from transition econo-
mies. Countries of the former USSR have been experiencing
very clear political conflicts. Also the people of these countries
do not have a uniform tendency in regard to economic systems
in that some of them prefer to have western type of economic
structure while the others prefer to have Communist economy
structure. These facts have led to instable market economy in
these countries (Sever & Arslan, 2008). Luckoo and Tzvekova
(2002) and Hughes (2002) argue that sixty million people (40%
of the total population) experienced serious poverty in Russia in
2000. After the collapse of former political regime in this coun-
try after the 1990’s, 6.5 million women became unemployed.
The other source countries are Ukraina and Moldovia. In Mol-
dovia, 90% of people earn less than two dollars per day. After
the collapse of communism, the income level of Moldovia de-
creased around 70% (Levehenco, 1999; Barrwell et al., 2000).
Therefore, the reason for high levels of people (75.5%) who
came from Asian countires and were illegally employed in
Istanbul seems to be economic problems experienced in source
countries. Additionally, following the differential opportunity
theory, it can be argued that those who feel themselves under-
achieved may tend to work in other countries adopting a ra-
tional decision-making approach to reach their goals. Therefore,
it is possible to state that the foreign origined people who came
to Turkey are those who cannot realize their goals and are eco-
nomically unsuccesful persons. Moreover, following the chal-
lenge and response theory, it can be argued that those individu-
als who cannot enjoy the scarce sources of their own countries
challenge this situation and respond it thorugh migration to a
Additionally, other researches indicate that illegally employed
persons are mostly from neighbor countries or nearby countries
or those countries that experience visa exemption (Hatton &
Williamson, 1998; IOM, 2005; Kicinger & Kloc-Nowak, 2008;
O’Rourke & Williamson, 2000; Iglicka, 2000; Bartoszewics,
2006; Juhász, 1999; Huguet & Punpuing, 2005; de Regt, 2007)
Similarly, those who committed the crime of illegal employ-
ment in Turkey are from neighbor countries, or from nearby
countries or from those countries that experience visa exemp-
Majority of the foreigners who worked illegally came to
Turkey holding visa. It is found that only 1.8% of the partici-
pants entered Turkey do not have visa. Although majority of
them legally entered Turkey, 23% of the participants violated
visa requirement during the period of illegal employment. Thus,
they committed two distinct crimes that legally require deporta-
tion. By 2007, the rates of both illegal employment and of visa
violation significantly increased. Formerly, migrants were go-
ing out and coming back as required by visa procedures.Today,
they do not do so. In other words, permanent illegal migrants
replace the flyer migrants.
Illegally employed foreigners are mostly arrested in police
areas (69.4%). It is not surprising in that commercial institu-
tions are basicly in these areas. However, as seen in Table 12,
in 2007 the rate of arrested foreigners who were illegally em-
ployed in gendarme areas increased. The basic reason for this
finding seems to be the establishment of production sites in
59.8% of the participants are in the age range of 19-30.
These people who cannot take part in workforce or feel that
they could not gain the sufficient reward for their labour in their
own countries came to Istanbul to gain the material rewards that
are higher on the contrary to those in their country of origin but
less than those of local people.
82.5% of the participants committed the crime of illegal em-
ployment in the Europa side of Istanbul because this region is
much more developed in terms of industry, commerce and
working conditions on the contrary to the Anatolian side.
Istanbul has a total of thirty-nine districs. Illegal employment
is found to be committed in thirty of these districts. Those dis-
tricts where illegal employment is frequent are Fatih (27%),
Büyükçekmece (8.9%) and Çatalca (6.1%). Fatih is a developed
district in terms of entertainment, international commerce, etc.,
while Büyükçekmece and Çatalca is developed as a site for
factories. It seems that workfoce demand is met through illegal
46.5% of females worked illegally in Fatih. It is followed by
Şişli (12.4%) and Kadıköy (8.1%). Night clubs, entertainmet
sector as well as international commercial firms are extensive
in the districts of Fatih and Şişli. Males are found to be illegally
employed in Fatih (15%), Büyükçekmece (12.3%) and Çatalca
(8.9%). More than half of the people from twenty-four coun-
tries who were arrested due to illegal employment are males
(61.6%). As stated in the theory of double labor market, males
mostly work in those jobs which require physical power.
Another considerable finding of the study is that males are
much more common than females in regard to these countries:
Turkmenistan (71.6%), Azerbaijan (86.5%), Georgia (72.1%),
Iran (98 %), and Romania (83.3%). On the other hand, females
from Ukraina (96.5%) and Russia (96.5%) are much more com-
mon. All people from Belarus are found to be females. This
finding reflects the conclusions of Luckoo and Tzvekova’s (2002)
and Hughes’ (2002) studies in that women experience serious
problems in participating in workforce in their countries leading
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
T. G. İÇLİ ET AL.
to migration to Turkey and they tend to work in those jobs that
are easy ways to earn money. Those from Turkmenistan, Azer-
baijan, Georgia and Iran are mostly males and they seem to be
employed in difficult jobs in suburbs. Both male and female
illegal workers earn less money.
There are three different methods of identifying net migra-
tion rate. One of them is estimation that refers to the analysis of
the findings of survey questionnaires and of police records.
However, it is thought that estimation is very hard to employ.
Because all cases of illegal employment occurred in Istanbul
during the years of 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 are included in
the study. However, it is not possible to argue that this figure
reflects the whole situation. In other words, there may be those
who do not have any official record. Therefore, net migration
rate can only be an estimation.
In conclusion, both illegal migration and illegal employment
are two major problems of current periods of time like it was in
the past. Given that the gap between underdeveloped countries
and developed countries in terms of living standards and poten-
tial opportunities, migration will increase.
It is useful to analyse the conditions of migrants as “pre-mi-
gration” and “post-migration” in order to have a complete un-
derstanding of the reasons for mobility of people. Therefore,
narration of migrants may be helpful. Additionally, description
of environmental conditions, social patterns (etnicity, cultural
elements, etc.), socio-economic analyses, violence cases, discri-
mination practices etc. is also significant. Moreover, the rela-
tionship between the reasons for migration and social patterns
should be analysed in order to have much more complete un-
derstanding of migration and illegal employment.
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