Greek Language Skills Key to Cyprus Work Permits

Greek Language Proficiency to Influence Work Permit Decisions in Cyprus

In a move that underscores the importance of cultural integration, the Cypriot Minister of Labour, Yiannis Panayiotou, announced on Wednesday that knowledge of Greek will become a crucial factor in the renewal and issuance of work permits for foreign workers. This new policy aims to address the labour shortages on the island while ensuring that long-term employees can integrate into the local community.

Despite previous announcements of a crackdown on illegal employment, Panayiotou acknowledged that the domestic workforce is insufficient to meet the island’s labour demands. To combat this, the government is prioritizing unemployed individuals and students from third countries who are already in Cyprus. However, the minister emphasized that Greek language skills will soon be a key criterion for those seeking work.

The minister highlighted the importance of workforce upgrading and training, stating that proficiency in Greek is vital for service sector employees in a country like Cyprus. He noted that speaking Greek at a “satisfactory” level would be advantageous for third-country nationals and would expedite the application process for those looking to work in Cyprus, aligning with practices in other EU member states.

In a recent press conference, Panayiotou revealed ongoing efforts to attract EU workers, including the signing of bilateral agreements with accession states and third countries to employ medium and low-skilled workers. He also mentioned a targeted campaign in collaboration with EU counterparts.

Furthermore, the minister stressed the dual approach of filling labour gaps with foreign personnel while preventing Cyprus from becoming a hub for illegal migration. To this end, he announced that inspections would increase to 10,000 this year, up from 6,000 in 2023, as part of the government’s commitment to regulate the workforce effectively.

This policy shift reflects Cyprus’s dedication to fostering a workforce that not only meets its economic needs but also promotes cultural cohesion and language acquisition among its diverse population.

Language proficiency

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