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Residence permits for foreign nationals have been suspended in Istanbul

The practice of not granting residence permits to foreigners, which was implemented in 10 districts of Istanbul, has now been expanded to 39 districts. The penalties of fines, license revocation, and imprisonment continue to be imposed on those who rent out their homes or accommodate illegal residents in their hotels.

According to the 2022 data from the Presidency, there are 5.4 million foreign nationals residing in Turkey. Istanbul, with 1.294 million foreigners, has the highest number of foreign residents. As the influx of migration and its associated problems continue to increase in Istanbul, efforts to find solutions are ongoing. However, with the new decision, residence permits for foreign nationals have been suspended unless in cases of absolute necessity.


According to a report by Ferit Zengin from Milliyet, in the mega city with an estimated official population of 15.908 million and a dynamic population of 20 million, the practice of not granting residence permits to foreign individuals, which was initially implemented in 10 districts as of October 2022 by the Ministry of Interior, was extended to 39 districts in March. In the mega city where residence permits, except for cases of absolute necessity such as personal safety, health, education, and international trade, have been suspended, a decision was made by the ministry on October 7, 2022, stating that residence permits will not be granted to foreigners until a second decision is made. In Istanbul, where approximately one-eighth (2.174 million 766 thousand) of the official population is registered under their own citizenship, there are 1.294 million 124 foreign nationals, representing 8% of the population, according to the figures from the Istanbul Provincial Directorate of Migration from a year ago, excluding foreigners who have acquired citizenship through property ownership. Among the foreign population of Istanbul, Syrians are the largest group with 535,025 individuals, according to official figures.


In the past two weeks, the Istanbul police have been conducting operations against illegal immigration networks, capturing and sending back over 5,000 irregular migrants, mostly Syrians, to repatriation centers. In Turkey, where the official number of foreign nationals is 5.4 million and unofficial estimates put it at nearly 7 million, efforts to prevent local-foreign conflicts and ghettoization continue through the “policy of densification” implemented by the Ministry of Interior last year.


In Istanbul, penalties including fines and sealing of properties have been imposed on those who rent out their properties illegally and accommodate illegal immigrants in hotels and establishments. In operations carried out since the beginning of this year, 29 separate operations targeting individuals who illegally rented properties to migrants for less than 15 days on a daily or weekly basis resulted in the apprehension of 51 individuals. Each individual was fined 26,750 Turkish liras. If they commit the same offense three times consecutively, their hotel licenses will be revoked, and their properties will be sealed indefinitely. Out of the 51 individuals, four were arrested, and six were placed under judicial control.

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