Minister of Labour Zeta Emilianidou has issued a decree simplifying the paperwork and procedures required for employers to hire asylum seekers on a temporary basis.

The decree in question appeared in the government gazette on October 4.

Emilianidou said on Tuesday the aim is to incentivise the hiring of asylum seekers to alleviate worker shortages observed in certain sectors of the economy.

Next week, the minister will meet with stakeholders to discuss further ways of addressing labour shortages.

Many EU nationals with work permits here have returned home amid the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus situation. Another issue is that some have stopped looking for work, relying on benefits and part-time gigs.

Under the revised rules, an employer seeking to hire an asylum seeker can now alert the Public Employment Service about a vacancy, without needing to also publish a notice of vacancy in the press.

Also, where the employer finds an asylum seeker for work, the employer can hire without needing to issue a notice of vacancy, provided that two key conditions are met: the asylum seeker will work in one of the professions designated by law, and that he or she continues to have asylum seeker status.

To be allowed to hire an asylum seeker, a business must beforehand demonstrate it has no arrears on social insurance contributions.

Asylum seekers may be hired one month after the date on which they have filed for international protection. They may enter certain occupations only – such as manufacturing, farming, animal husbandry, slaughterhouses, porters, waste collection, gas stations, car garages, cleaners.