The messenger logo

Problems for Georgian labor migrants in Turkey

By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 23
As of February 1, the Turkish government will impose additional regulations for foreigners visiting their country. Visitors may stay for a maximum duration of three months, but once that time has expired, they are prohibited from entering Turkey again for a subsequent three months. These new regulations are expected to create problems for Georgian labor migrants in Turkey. Additionally, the regime may inconvenience so-called "suitcase traders", who import petty goods from Turkey to Georgia thus crossing the border several times a month.

Georgian media outlets estimate there are 500 000 Georgian citizens looking for work in Turkey. Many of those are employed in casual or short-term employment, often staying only a few months before returning to Georgia; frequent border crossings in the span of three months are common. Georgian citizens working in Turkey are primarily employed in low income sectors; women work as baby-sitters or cleaners, and men find jobs in agriculture. Generally, the money earned in Turkey is sent back to labourers' families in Georgia, in the form of remittances.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry recently stated that negotiations with Turkey are ongoing, with the goal of maintaining the visa regime status quo. Otherwise, Georgian citizens in Turkey will struggle to provide current levels of remittances to their families, and the Georgian population may demand government action potentially in the form of visa reciprocity for Turkish citizens living and working in Georgia.