A deal was struck over the employment of third-country nationals in Cyprus, Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou announced on Monday, as he thanked social partners for their “maturity and seriousness” in the negotiations.

“This is a significant development that confirms the high level of cooperation between the state and organisations representing employees and employers,” Panayiotou underlined.

He elaborated on the deal’s three pillars, the first of which focuses on improving living conditions for foreign nationals.

The framework surrounding housing must be improved which includes defining what counts as ‘acceptable standards’ for housing facilities, as well as determining who will be responsible to monitor its implementation.

Additionally, consequences must be specified for those who do not adhere to the standards. Panayiotou said rules must be set for how much is deducted from wages in return for housing.

The second pillar involves the operation of a Tripartite Consultative Committee to advise on the market’s staffing needs, aiming to enhance collaboration among stakeholders.

“Particularly now where there are major external challenges affecting the labour market in our country, normalcy on the internal front based on cooperation and unity is a necessity, to which we must all respond to responsibly.”

The final pillar aims to evaluate and update the existing strategy on foreign national employment, incorporating lessons learned from past experiences.

The aim is to have the updated strategy ready in time for the next peak period.

Panayiotou specified that the agreement’s provisions would take effect after the committee convenes after Easter.