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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Cyprus: Only 25% of asylum seekers are registered with social insurance services, Minister says

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Cyprus: Only 25% of asylum seekers are registered with social insurance services, Minister says< /p> Labor Advisory Body

    The government has expressed its determination to tackle undeclared and illegal labour, with relevant bills to be presented to the House of Representatives this June, aiming for a vote before the summer recess, announced Labor Minister, Yannis Panagiotou.

    Speaking to the members of the Labor Advisory Body yesterday, the Minister highlighted the recent surge in such practices and the need for swift action.

    He reiterated the same in his statements after the meeting, which, in addition to the bundle of measures against undeclared and illegal work, also discussed the government’s decisions regarding benefits for Turkish Cypriots that fall under the Ministry of Labour’s remit.

    Presenting specific data to the body's members, Minister Panagiotou confirmed the correlation between the rise in undeclared labor and increased migration. He cited figures indicating that out of 34,900 foreign nationals aged 17 to 65 residing in the country as holders of international or supplementary protection or asylum seekers, only 8,402, or approximately 24%, are registered with social insurance services.

    It is estimated that a further significant proportion of these people are employed, often undeclared by their employers, and without social insurance contributions or health coverage.

    The Minister went on to say that social partners agree on the necessity of implementing effective measures to curb the extent of this phenomenon, which, as he said, negatively impacts economic competition, harmonious industrial relations, the sustainability of the pension system, and the management of illegal migration.

    Legislative plans for fines

    Simultaneously, the Minister conveyed the government’s goal to finalize the relevant bills for submission to the House of Representatives by June, enabling their consideration by the plenary before the summer break.

    Legislative changes will include imposing an out-of-court fine of €1000 (up from €500 currently) for each case of undeclared work and extending liability to the main contractor in addition to the subcontractor.

    There will also be legislative provisions for the electronic registration of all employees in the information system of the Ministry of Labor and Social Insurance, with the Minister announcing the conclusion of discussions on the respective bill.

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