Insider Economy Foreign students, asylum seekers can now work legally in Cyprus

Foreign students, asylum seekers can now work legally in Cyprus

Students who are nationals of third countries as well as asylum seekers can now work legally in Cyprus under certain conditions and at designated sectors – including in the hotel and food industry.

Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou has adopted the request by restaurant and leisure centre owners to allow the employment of foreign students regardless of their field of study. But she has turned down the request by hoteliers to be allowed to employ foreign students beyond those doing their practical training in this field.

Instead, the Minister gave the green light for the employment of political refugees in restaurants and hotels. The Ministry’s relevant decrees were published in the Official Gazette of the Republic on May 10.

The decrees provide that foreign students who were already in Cyprus by May 10, be allowed to get a job in the food industry (food distributors) and in restaurants/leisure centres (kitchen assistants/ cleaners) provided they have a valid residence permit (with a date of at least six months). As well as an employment contract, signed by the two parties, and a time-table of studies. This should not coincide with the working hours.

As far as hotels go, the May 10 decree did not change anything with the employment of foreigners only permitted for practical purposes. It makes it crystal clear that during the period of June 1 to October 15, hotels and leisure centers are allowed to employ hotel/food industry students only for the purpose of practical training.

At the same time, hotels, restaurants and leisure centres are allowed to employ political refugees as kitchen assistants and cleaners. Provided that they have a contract of employment with a specific employer and approved by the Department of Labour. And that they will be paid in accordance with collective agreements.

Political refugees can also work in the sectors of agriculture, livestock, fishing, shelters and hotels for animal, processing, waste management, trade, repairs and provision of services (cleaning workers, porters, etc).

The Law provides for punishment (fine or imprisonment) for those who violate its provisions.

In 2018, there were 7,761 asylum seekers registered in Cyprus.

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