Around 100 Turkish Cypriots were interviewed this week for jobs in the hotel industry, while procedures will continue next year for the construction sector, a Sek trade union representative said on Thursday.

According to Elissaios Michail, Sek’s secretary of international and public relations, around 400 people expressed interest in finding jobs in the government-controlled areas, following a deal with Turk-Sen in the north to help Turkish Cypriots who wish to work in the south.

“Around 120 people expressed interest in working in the hotel industry,” Michail told the Cyprus Mail. Of these, around 100 went to the interviews arranged this week with employers. The interviews concerned jobs in the hotel industry in Nicosia and the free Famagusta area, Michail said.

The interviews took place at the bicommunal Home for Cooperation inside Nicosia’s Green Line area.

He said there have been people with degrees in other fields who expressed interest in working in the government-controlled areas due to unemployment in the north.

Around 140 people have expressed interest in the construction sector, he added, with procedures set to start in the new year.

The rest have expressed interest in other jobs, Michail said.

Sek partnered with Turkish Cypriot union Turk-Sen to facilitate Turkish Cypriots to work in the government-controlled areas. Turk-Sen forwards these applications to Sek that brings them to the attention of interested employers.

Michail said this was due to that there is shortage of staff in some sectors in the government-controlled areas but also to ensure that the Turkish Cypriots who will be employed through this scheme, will benefit from the collective agreements.

This, he said, will protect both Turkish Cypriots and the labour force in the government-controlled areas since it aims to prevent exploitation and tackle illegal or undeclared labour.

Head of Turk-Sen, Arslan Bicakli said earlier in the month that around 2,000 Turkish Cypriots were already working in government-controlled areas and even though similar arrangements were made in the past, this was the first time efforts were so organised.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides had welcomed the agreement reached some two weeks ago between the two unions. He argued that, on the one hand, this would help cover labour shortages in some sectors and on the other hand it would help Turkish Cypriots in need of employment.