CYPRUS: Labour integration for refugees beneficial for society

Labour integration for refugees in Cyprus is extremely beneficial with enormous advantages for society and the economy, officials told an event in Nicosia.

The event was organized by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Cyprus (UNHCR) and the Cyprus Refugee Council (CyRC) on the occasion of World Refugee Day on June 20.

Organizers briefed the participants on HelpRefugeesWork, a free online service initiated by the UNCHR in Cyprus in collaboration with the CyRC.

The platform is designed to help companies to quickly connect with a large network of job-seeking refugees and the services are free of charge.

A 100-plus companies and over 400 candidates with a refugee background have already registered.

Companies can advertise as many job or internship vacancies as they wish, for free, to reach out to provide an opportunity to persons under International Protection to join their team.

UNHCR Cyprus and CyRC officials pointed out that refugees constitute a growing segment of the local workforce in Europe and in Cyprus and integrating them in the labour market is a win-win situation for all.

Businesses can cover their staffing needs, persons are able to develop and contribute in the economy, local societies become more inclusive and tolerant and candidates learn the language faster.

It was also pointed out that Europe’s population is ageing and the refugees, which are a growing part, could offer solutions in many sectors of the market, thus helping their social and labour integration in a much faster and productive way.

Persons under International protection can be Recognized Refugees or Subsidiary Protection holders. Their legal status is different from Asylum Seekers, whose access to work is regulated by the Labour Department and is subjected to restrictions.

There are approximately 11,000 persons under International Protection and approximately 13,000 asylum seekers currently residing in Cyprus.

The percentage of refugees with a high school leaving certificate is estimated at 40%, while 25% have post-graduate education, including postgraduate and doctoral studies.

It is estimated, however, that at least 60% of people with higher education are employed in jobs that do not correspond to their qualifications.

Among the total number of job placements in 2018, refugees correspond to less than 1%.

Of those refugees that work, it is estimated that approximately half of them are engaged in part-time/ occasional employment, compared to an estimated 15% among the whole working population.

Source: The Financial Mirror