A young Bangladeshi man recently deported, was a gentle person with very good English and basic Greek, obviously a good worker having been gainfully employed for years.

His friend, a good, hard-working man supporting a wife and child and his widowed mother and siblings abroad, is living with the fear of being discovered. He considers himself lucky, his employer treats him well unlike others for whom the threat of discovery gives employers a bargaining chip for low wages and poor treatment.

Why, he asked me, are the authorities saying they need to bring in foreign workers instead of granting us amnesty and allowing men already familiar with Cyprus and willing to work hard, to stay instead of rounding us up and deporting us. The taxpayers are supporting illegal immigrants, we support ourselves and put money back into the economy, paying rents and life costs here, I don’t have a criminal record.

People who live with the gut-wrenching fear of being found illegal are the last to cause problems. The government spends time, energy and taxpayers’ money chasing people whose visas have expired. Would an amnesty not be better entailing having people engaged in mostly menial jobs, the kind of worker mostly needed in certain sectors as Cypriots don’t want those jobs, to keep on doing them legally?

Colette NiReamonn Ioannidou, Nicosia