Some 500 Turkish Cypriots have applied for and found a job in the south, while in coming days another 150 applicants are expected to secure a job placement.

It’s part of a programme rolled out late last year, where the SEK trade union and the Turkish Cypriot syndicate Turk-Sen partnered up to facilitate Turkish Cypriots wanting to work in the government-controlled areas.

The idea came about because of staff shortages in some sectors in the south – such as construction and tourism. Turkish Cypriots enrolling in the programme are covered by collective agreements.

The two unions will meet anew to finalise arrangements concerning the employment in the south of some 650 Turkish Cypriots.

According to Arslan Bicakli, head of the Turkish Cypriot trade union, of the 650 who applied, 500 have already found a job; the remaining 150 are expected to get a placement soon.

For the time being, the programme applies only to construction and tourism/the hotel industry. But Bicakli said he would propose that the plan be expanded to other sectors.

Meantime, according to an MP in the north, a grouping of business organisations and the ‘government’ are on Friday set to enter into a public-private partnership aimed at upgrading infrastructures at the crossing points.

The comments were made by Resmiye Canaltay, an MP with the north’s National Unity Party (UBP). She told Turkish Cypriot media that the upgrades were necessary to ease congestion at crossing points.

In recent days, she added, traffic on the Turkish Cypriot side was such that people waited up to one-and-half hours to cross.

It’s understood the upgrade works and additional personnel hiring concern the crossing points at Ayios Dometios, Ledra Street, Pergamos and Strovilia.