12° Nicosia,
13 June, 2024

Foreign students welcomed into labor market

Labor Minister unveils measures to enhance integration and professional growth for foreign students

Newsroom / CNA

Labour Minister Yiannis Panagiotou announced on Tuesday the government's decision to enhance foreign students' access to the labor market, citing its significance in the country's development planning. The move aims to integrate university education with professional growth, address seasonal employment needs, and create quality job opportunities in higher education attractive to local talent.

Following a Cabinet meeting, Minister Panagiotou outlined the comprehensive approach adopted by the Ministries of Finance, Interior, Education, and Labour. The plan includes bolstering regulatory oversight, expanding job access, broadening permissible professions, extending working hours, and allowing post-undergraduate employment.

Increased inspections, jointly planned by the Ministries of Labour and Education, aim to ensure foreign students' compliance with academic requirements while deterring abuses. Stricter penalties are proposed for both students and institutions found violating regulations.

The renewal of the decree granting foreign students labor market access, previously valid until March 2024, includes the inclusion of additional professions like retail sales, contingent upon local workforce availability.

Proposed legislative amendments seek to raise weekly working hours during study periods from 20 to 25 and extend post-graduate work permits to 12 months.

Minister Panagiotou anticipates positive economic impacts, anticipating legal and transparent staffing practices and expanded higher education prospects.

Responding to inquiries, Panagiotou estimated about 1,500 foreign students are currently employed, with around 5,000 studying in Cyprus.

Addressing concerns over local workforce displacement, Panagiotou assured that priority is given to domestic and EU member state workers. He emphasized a rigorous process for work permits and highlighted the advantage of integrating culturally adapted individuals with Greek language proficiency into the labor force, thereby minimizing local job market disruptions.

Cyprus  |  labor  |  education  |  students

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