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22 May, 2024
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Cabinet amends minimum guaranteed income and social benefits laws

Ensuring equality and addressing emergencies in Cyprus' welfare system


The Council of Ministers in Cyprus has recently approved an amendment to the Minimum Guaranteed Income and Social Benefits Laws, signaling a significant change in the country's approach to residency requirements.

The key modification pertains to individuals, regardless of their nationality, who are covered by the Refugee Law and have held legal status in Cyprus. According to the amendment, these individuals will now share the same obligation, requiring five years of uninterrupted legal residency in the Republic of Cyprus before they can apply for an EEE (Minimum Guaranteed Income).

However, an exception to this rule has been introduced for cases of emergency and urgent situations that demand immediate assistance. In such instances, competent officials from the Ministry of Social Welfare will have the authority to examine and approve Minimum Guaranteed Income applications without requiring five years of continuous legal residence in Cyprus.

As it currently stands, Greek Cypriots and European Union citizens must have maintained legal and continuous residency in Cyprus for the five years immediately preceding their application, without the possibility of an exceptional review of their request. In contrast, individuals with international and subsidiary protection status can apply for EEE regardless of their length of residence in the Republic.

The motivation behind this amendment is to ensure equality among Greek Cypriots, European citizens, and third-country nationals who hold legal status under the Refugee Law concerning the mandatory five-year residency requirement for EEE applications. This change aims to establish consistency between the obligation to reside in Cyprus for a specific duration legally and the possibility of an exceptional application review.

Beyond this aspect, the amendment aligns with the principles of the Minimum Guaranteed Income Law and seeks to address emergencies more effectively. Furthermore, it forms part of the government's broader migration policy, which intends to safeguard against Cyprus becoming an attractive destination for migration.

The Amendment Bill is now slated to undergo consideration and voting in the House of Representatives.

Cyprus  |  welfare  |  income

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