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More job sectors opened to third-country students due to labour shortages

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Amid reports businesses are struggling to find staff, the labour ministry said on Friday that third-country students who were in Cyprus on May 31 will be allowed to work in nine sectors of the economy.

In a written statement, it said that Minister Zeta Emilianidou had taken the decision “in view of the situation regarding the labour market in Cyprus and after consultations with social partners.”

Earlier on Friday, media reports had said that staff shortages, particularly for seasonal work, had been discussed in the consultative labour committee which brings together employers’ associations, trade unions and the government.

Other countries, including the UK and USA, have experienced difficulties finding staff with the reopening of the economy after the pandemic lockdown, particularly in the hospitality sector.  One possible explanation is that non-Cypriots left during the lockdown.

The minister reportedly informed participants that she planned to issue a decree allowing foreign students to work in certain sectors of the economy, while employers also pressed for asylum seekers to be allowed to work in additional sectors.

Students are allowed to work in the following sectors: commerce-repairs (porters in wholesale, workers at petrol stations and car wash); health and social care (carers at care homes for the aged provided they fulfil the provisions of the relevant law); household activities (incidental household work); processing (workers at bakeries, animal feed units, recycling, night shifts at manufacturing industries); agriculture-livestock-fishing (workers); other activities (cleaners, sewage workers, distributors of advertising leaflets); catering (delivery, kitchen help/cleaners); hotels (kitchen help, cleaners); restaurants/hospitality centres (kitchen help, cleaners).

The ministry added that from June 1 to October 15, students in the hotel and catering sector are allowed to work at hotels and hospitality centres as part of their practical training under current policy.

In order to work, students must secure a contract with a specific employers validated by the labour department setting out their main terms of employment.  Students must also present a document with their tuition hours at a recognised institution of learning. The monthly work programme of the students must be forwarded to the labour department.

Students of recognised branches of studies whose degree requires practical training, can do so provided there is a written agreement between the employer and the educational institution which has been submitted to the labour department.

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