ECAA Ankara Agreement
The European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) permits Turkish nationals to establish themselves as a worker or in a business in the UK under the Ankara agreement. It also allows them to attain residency rights in the UK. The old 1973 provisions apply to all ECAA applications, making the application process more flexible. However, an applicant is prevented from benefiting from the ECAA if it is discovered that they are in breach of UK immigration laws. In such circumstances, the applicant will be subjected to the points-based system that is currently operated.
Turkish Businessperson Visas
Turkish nationals are able to apply to or remain in the UK if they want to become self-employed and establish a business under the Turkish ECAA business category. For the Home Office to be satisfied that the applicant qualifies for this, the applicant must:
- Have the skills and ability necessary to set up the business proposed;
- Have the funds required to set up and run the business proposed; and
- Have the capacity to make enough profit to support themselves without the need for additional employment that would require a work permit.
Once they have been an ECAA businessperson in the UK for four years, it is possible for an individual to request indefinite leave to remain. This is because they have demonstrated that they are able successfully run a business and settle permanently in the country.
Turkish Worker Visas
A Turkish national who is legally employed in the UK is also permitted to apply for a visa extension to stay longer. To qualify for an extension, they must already have a valid visa (e.g. an au pair visa or a Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 4 visa) that allows them to work in the UK legally and they must also have worked for the same employer for one year (continuously). If the applicant is successful in their visa extension application, they will be permitted to stay in the UK as a Turkish ECAA worker. However, an applicant under this category cannot apply for indefinite leave to remain.
A Turkish ECAA worker is allowed to change employers after working for three continuous years, as long as they continue in the same profession. After four years, the worker may be employed in any occupation and by any employer.
If you are a Turkish national who is interested in applying under the Turkish worker or Turkish businessperson visa, please visit our blog post on benefits of the Ankara Agreement.
Further information, help, and advice
As one of the leading immigration solicitors in Holborn London, we also work on a broad range of other immigration application with an experienced in-house team of solicitors to represent applicants who have grounds to apply visas that involve marriage, civil partnership, asylum, human rights, and the European Union free movement.
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