Increases to 50% the percentage of foreign workers that a company is entitled to employ if it cannot find local or community staff and applies collective agreements
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Increases to 50% the percentage of foreign workers that a company is entitled to employ if it cannot find local or community staff and applies collective agreements. This is provided for, among other things, by the new updated policy for the employment of foreign personnel adopted by the Council of Ministers, which was presented by the Minister of Labor and Social Insurance Kyriakos Kousios.
In his statements after the Ministerial session, Mr. Kousios said that after years of implementing the strategy for the employment of foreign workforce, the distortions and weaknesses have been identified and it was deemed necessary to update it with the aim of ensuring foreign workforce for the businesses.
As he said, the priority in the labor market remains for Cypriot and community workers and he noted that until today there was a relative liberalization in the agricultural and livestock sector. He noted that some criteria related to the hectare of land someone cultivates, or the number of animals or even the nature of the work will now be applied.
Companies could currently employ up to 30% of their workforce with foreign workers. Now, it remains at 30%, however, when a company applies a sectoral or business collective agreement it will be able to employ up to 50% of its staff from foreigners, but always with the condition that it cannot find local or community labor.
The Minister of Labor noted that this addition also concerns a relevant EU directive for the member states to have a density of collective agreements up to 80%, and expressed the belief that this addition will be in this direction so that we have collective agreements in businesses that will also help labor peace.
Mr. Kousios said that with the updated strategy, there was an expansion in the agricultural and livestock sector and recycling businesses and related professions have also been included.
Establishment of an advisory committee on labor policy from third countries
Also, he said, a Commission is being instituted made up of the social partners and the officials of the Ministry of Labour, which will advise the Minister of Labor on the issues of political employment of labor force from third countries and at the same time the Commission will receive complaints or complaints which it will examine and will inform the Minister.
“The establishment of the Committee has a lot to offer in an advisory role to the Minister of Labour, for the formulation of policy but also for the examination of specific complaints that either concern mistreatment or a violation of working conditions,” he said.
The Mr. Kousios stated that with the new strategy, no entrepreneur-employer can employ foreign workers under conditions that are not the same as those employed by people in corresponding sectors of the business, in order to ensure that there will be equal treatment.
He said that until today the Minister of Labor did not have the ability to exceptionally grant permits in specific cases such as for large investments and now with the new strategy the Minister is given the opportunity to decide on the granting of permits for specific investments and sectors.
In cases where there is no operation of a company in the previous year so that we have the comparative size and the number it can employ, the decision for foreign staff will be judged based on the needs of the business, he said.
Schedules are still being set for the examination of the applications because unfortunately there have been delays until now, he said and expressed the hope that the procedures will now be accelerated.
Answering a question, Mr. Kousios said that the new policy applies from today and noted that in February the Minister of the Interior has issued a decree, following the European labor policy, based on which asylum seekers will not be able to be employed before approval of their permit or as long as a period of 9 months has not elapsed so that Cyprus ceases to be an attractive destination for illegal immigrants.
He noted however that the Minister of the Interior accepted that this decree would be valid in three months and if need to be extended for another three months, in order to give companies the opportunity to secure the necessary staff. there will be a need for a business to hire an illegal or undeclared worker”, he said.
As for the trade unions, Mr. Kousios said that the Trade Unions say that they are completely satisfied with the new policy, as he has asked them for comments and suggestions. “I believe that the trade union movement was given the opportunity to express its views” and he recalled that the issue has been discussed for the last five years. “As long as the trade union movement carefully reads the new policy, it will be completely satisfied,” he concluded.