Cyprus Mail

Companies can now employ up to 50 per cent foreign workers


The percentage of foreigners a company is allowed to employ and include into collective agreements has been raised from 30 to 50 per cent, Labour Minister Kyriakos Koushos announced on Wednesday.

Speaking to the media after a cabinet meeting, Koushos said he hopes the decision will put an end to years of distortions and misconceptions regarding foreign workers in Cyprus and that it will benefit businesses and all aspects of Cyprus’ economy.

He added that some more liberalisations for foreign workers in the agricultural sector are currently being discussed.

However, he also said the government’s priority is to strengthen the labour market for Cypriots.

“Companies will be allowed to employ foreign nationals for up to 50 per cent of their workforce only provided that they could not employ Cypriot citizens,” Koushos said.

He then noted that the updated policy also relates to a relevant EU directive for member states to reach a collective agreement density of up to 80 per cent.

“An ad-hoc committee overseeing the employment of third country nationals in Cypriot companies will also be set up,” Koushos said.

“In addition to that, the same committee will deal with any arising complaints or grievances filed by foreign workers.

“The committee will work as an advisory body for the labour ministry, both in policy making and in examining specific potential cases of violation of labour conditions in order to ensure fair and equal treatment for all workers.”

Koushos, however, clarified that asylum seekers cannot be employed until their asylum applications are approved or until nine months have elapsed since their arrival in Cyprus.

He explained that the reason for not including asylum seekers in the 50 per cent of employees in a company is aimed at curbing the migratory wave to Cyprus.

“That said, the new policy regarding the employment of third country nationals is actually set up to fight illegal workers,” the labour minister said.

“Under the new rules, there will be no need for companies and businesses to hire foreign workers illegally.”

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