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Asylum seekers from different Ethnic groups gathered at Solomou square at 10.00 am on Tuesday 16th April. They were demonstrating about the lack of employment opportunities exploitation and abusive work conditions and also to raise awareness and encourage the Cypriot government to increase employment opportunities and to ensure that no asylum seeker is exploited at their employment.

First, they went to the district Labour Office (LO).  A Delegation of asylum seekers met with a representative of the LO and informed him about the difficulties in relations to the employment / labour market in Cyprus. They also complained about the behaviour of the staff of the Labour office and the facts that asylum seekers are not offered jobs by the public labour offices and for this reason they need to pay private corrupted agents most of the time to find them a job. They submitted a written resolution which you can find attached. The representative of the LO who said that they will try and make the employment contract waiting shorter as they complained that it takes a very long time to get their employment contracts approved by the Labour office, sometimes up to 4 months and as a result employers cannot wait that long and their end up losing their jobs.

They then went to the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social insurance. A delegation met with the permanent secretary of the ministry and their Issues were presented at the Labour office, he told them they are aware of the problem with the access to only few occupations and that the ministry is in a debate with the parliament in order to include more occupations, or open up more job opportunities for Asylum seekers. (they also submitted a written resolution.  He promised to read/examine and respond. The ministry asked the Asylum Seekers to give him the contacts of the representative group for feedback and promised to be in touch.

They then met with representatives of the European Union House, a Representative of the european parliament and the European Commission, they informed him about the difficulties with the examination of their applications for Asylum he informed them that they will work together with the asylum service in order to improve the fairness and the length of the examination of the Asylum applications and can expect changes in June.

The last stop was the Ministry of Interior. They saw two representatives of the Ministry and specific requests were made, they are waiting very long 3/5 years. They informed the demonstrators that there will be faster examinations by increasing the capacity of the asylum service and there will be more Lawyers to help them and this should be implemented by June.

For more information you can contact Mr Kester Ikechukwu (96186311)

The Community of Asylum Seekers in Cyprus

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