Foreign nationals on work visas in the Republic of Cyprus may have immigration documents confiscated at Greek Cypriot checkpoints as they cross into the north, as authorities in the south push for preemptive measures to combat overseas travel at the expense of domestic employers.
According to Philenews, Cyprus Police Headquarters have instructed Greek Cypriot customs officers at UN crossing points to “withhold residence authorization documents” from third country nationals, who cross into the Turkish Cypriot north, and hand them back during re-entry to the south.
The issue came up recently on social media posts about domestic assistants in Cyprus, following comments regarding agents in other EU countries.
One post also suggested that a foreign agent had relocated to Portugal, prompting debate on whether he was legitimate as well as questions on why domestic workers would want to abandon their employers in Cyprus.
Police action came as social media posts this week suggested a relocated agent from a third country was offering services to those who wanted to follow him to Portugal
“If you don't like the conditions in Cyprus....then don't come!!!! Nobody force you to come in Cyprus,” said one user.
Cypriots, EU citizens, and other foreign nationals can legally travel to Europe through Turkey after catching a flight at Ercan airport in the north, although Nicosia does not authorize it as an official Port of Entry.
But it is impossible for domestic assistants from third countries to pass inspection at their flight gate in Turkey without showing their residence permit issued by the EU state.
It is illegal to withhold personal documents in the Republic of Cyprus, such as a Residence Permit, but officials reportedly took such measures to keep some foreign nationals from abandoning their domestic employers in the Greek Cypriot south.
While there are many reasons for leaving an employer, such as mistreatment, low pay, exploitation, and other personal or family reasons, there has been no official data on the issue.
But police action came as social media posts this week suggested a relocated agent from a third country was offering services to those who wanted to follow him to Portugal. Other posts suggested people often traveled to find better jobs or reunite with family.
Philenews also reported that many foreign workers, such as domestic assistants and other laborers, often cross into the north and travel to Turkey, where they use their residence permits to board a plane to other EU member states.
While travel is legal, Philenews cited information that suggested many nationals of third countries obtained work visas in the Republic of Cyprus and later left to find work in Europe.
Cypriot officials say this is causing bureaucratic and other problems to Cypriot employers.
“The domestic employers fall victims of fraud after having made visa arrangements at a high cost for these individuals,” Philenews reported.
Domestic assistants in Cyprus may file a request to change employers but reports in the past suggested there were loopholes in the process, such as giving bosses the upper hand and workers running away after a denial.
Other assertions in the media have also pointed to some foreign workers using the system to find better work on the island or elsewhere.
A recent story in local news pointed to a police investigation in Paphos after a home owner accused a cleaning lady of home theft.
The 47-year-old woman reportedly told police she saw on social media a photo posted by the cleaning lady, described as a 54-year-old foreign national, who appeared to be sporting a bracelet that resembled an item thought to have been stolen from the home.