TBY talks to Steve Pheby, Relocation Manager at Bedel Mobility Solutions, on helping corporations set up in Turkey and the professional relocation business.
TBY What challenges face those relocating to Turkey?
STEVE PHEBY The immigration process is a challenge. The Turkish government is working on making this process easier, but there are still quite a few obstacles. I think if people are investing a certain amount into a country then the government should make it easier for them to obtain work permits. We offer a service that takes the effort out of this process for our clients, and we have helped incoming companies that can be hindered by employment laws. This has allowed companies to bring in their own workforce thanks to our services and promote the long-term investment benefits of their company.
The relocation market has seen a shift towards short-term stays in recent years. How has Bedel Mobility Solutions adapted to these changes?
We are able to cope with people staying for one or two months as we can set them up with a business visa. This visa allows someone to take part in training, consulting and presenting, but does not let them occupy a desk in an office. Turkey is a major hub for business and our service affords businessmen and corporations incredible flexibility to conduct transient business within the boundaries of the law.
Often the success of a relocation service is dependent on its relationships with complementary organizations. Which companies do you work closely with?
We use a select number of real estate agents who know our expectations and our quality. We also work with many relocation management companies, and we work closely with insurance and relocation companies such as Pricoa, Prudential, Brookfield, and Cartus. We do not have any exclusivity deals with third parties, however, as we prefer to constantly review quality and price structures.
How have memberships in international organizations benefitted your business?
We belong to the European Relocation Council (ERC), European Relocation Association (EURA), and the British and German Chambers of Commerce. This gives us a greater connection with the relocation management companies that are directing clients to us. It gives them a greater idea of the services we provide and what it is like to relocate to Turkey. It also helps us to improve our services through feedback.
Globalization has made relocation a necessity for many companies. What changes do you see happening in the relocation market in the future?
One of the biggest factors affecting the industry will be Turkey’s future relationship with the EU. Turkey is the Asian tiger of Europe—it is one of the major new destinations for foreign investment. We currently have prospects with some large companies yet to establish a presence in Turkey. With a market of 70 million, companies are realizing that they really need to be here. For example, Apple is still yet to establish itself here. There are also an increasing number of companies looking to open up Middle Eastern or African HQs. Turkey has the fifth largest number of billionaires of any city in the world, which just shows why so many people are looking to invest in Turkey. To fully capitalize on this we are looking at opening further offices in Konya and Samsun, as well as continue to support large international companies moving to Turkey.
From the wealth of information your company has, what advice would you give to people looking to relocate to Turkey?
Learning some basic Turkish is very useful; it breaks down barriers, and Turkish people are very appreciative of it. I also run an online group called the Sublime Portal that has an array of groups and societies suited to expatriates in Turkey. The site is open to expatriates and also Turkish nationals returning to Turkey. I started this online project six years ago, and we now have well over a thousand members. The site helps people get to know each other, share stories about their experiences in Turkey, and find out about the best schools and places to eat. It is also a great way for people to meet and socialize with others from different industries.
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