The interior and labour ministries are joining forces to combat illegal employment of third-country nationals and reduce irregular migration this month.

Officials have identified 83 cases of illegal employment of third-country nationals following 1,525 checks from May to July this year, the ministries said in a joint statement.

The new operation, starting this Monday, will target specific labour sectors focusing on areas where large numbers of third-country nationals are employed, aiming to tackle undeclared and illegal work.

But authorities said another objective is to “manage migration policy more effectively”.

The checks will last for two months, after which the situation will be reassessed to decide on the next steps to be taken, the announcement added.

In the framework of the campaign, the inspection service of the ministry of labour and social insurance is further intensifying controls on illegal and undeclared employment of third-country nationals. Checks will be carried out in coordination with the civil registry and immigration department, the asylum service of the ministry of interior as well as with other involved services, such as the aliens and immigration service of the Cyprus police.

The launch of this campaign is based on the instructions of President Nikos Christodoulides and was decided at a meeting between the ministers of interior and labour and social insurance, Constantinos Ioannou and Yannis Panayiotou respectively.

There, the ministers agreed to strengthen the coordination between the two Ministries, as well as to improve the information exchange procedure to carry out more effective and more direct controls on the one hand, and on the other hand to improve the procedure for imposing criminal and administrative sanctions on employers and third country nationals where cases of illegal employment are detected, while it was also decided that the results of the controls will be announced every month.

According to the provisions of the aliens and immigration law, employing a foreigner without the permit required by law, or employing in violation of the terms of an employment permit, or employing in violation of any other law or regulation, constitutes an offence punishable by imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to €20,000, or both sentences combined. The legislation also provides for the imposition of an administrative fine of up to €1,500 (rising to €3,000 in the case of any subsequent infringement), as well as the deprivation of the right to employ a third-country national to employers who violate the legislation.

Under the refugee law, an employer who employs an applicant for international protection in breach of the law commits a criminal offence and is liable to imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine of up to €8,000.

Third-country nationals who commit the offence will be subject to the provisions laid down in the legislation referred to, with penalties including, inter alia, imprisonment and a fine.