Cap on Croa­t­ian work­ers, EU labour­ers ex­ceed job­less

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Cyprus gov­ern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing lim­i­ta­tions on em­ploy­ing Croa­t­ian cit­i­zens, at a time when un­em­ploy­ment re­mains at a record high of 16% and an in­de­pen­dent study called for a ban on all for­eign work­ers.

“The gov­ern­ment is very sen­si­tive on the is­sue of un­em­ploy­ment,” Labour Min­is­ter Zeta Emil­ian­ides said on Fri­day af­ter a damn­ing re­port by the In­sti­tute of De­mo­graph­ics and Migration Poli­cies claimed that 200,000 EU and third coun­try work­ers are de­priv­ing lo­cal of jobs.

Emil­ian­ides refuted al­le­ga­tions that EU cit­i­zens were get­ting benefits. She said that 5,000 house­holds, all Cypri­ots, are re­ceiv­ing the Guar­an­teed Min­i­mum In­come wel­fare pack­age in­tro­duced last year, and that only EU cit­i­zens with an at least five-year per­ma­nent stay on the is­land are el­i­gi­ble for GMI. She added that the Min­istry has just con­cluded a bill on un­de­clared work, that fore­sees high ad­min­is­tra­tive fines and even sus­pen­sion of the busi­ness ac­tiv­ity, in some cases.

The In­sti­tute re­port sug­gested that 4,142 EU cit­i­zens re­ceived un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fit from the So­cial In­sur­ance Fund in the first half of last year, adding that in July 2014 the to­tal num­ber of for­eign work­ers, from the EU and third coun­tries, was 99,972, while the num­ber of Cypriot reg­is­tered un­em­ployed was 46,727. How­ever, bith fig­ures were in decline as in July 2013 for­eign work­ers were 103,278, while job­less Cypri­ots were 48,001.

Vice Chair­man of the In­sti­tute An­dreas Mor­phi­tis in­voked a Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice rul­ing that EU mem­ber states must have the pos­si­bil­ity of re­fus­ing so­cial benefits to eco­nom­i­cally in­ac­tive EU cit­i­zens.

The re­port in­cluded a se­ries of pro­pos­als, among which a com­pre­hen­sive study by the Gov­ern­ment over the em­ploy­ment of for­eign work­ers, based on the con­di­tions pre­vail­ing in the econ­omy and the labour mar­ket.

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