24 March 2014 11:53

Foreign companies based in Cyprus are pushing for a relaxation of restrictions on the employment of highly skilled third country nationals.
The companies, which specialiSe primarily in financial services and other consultancy services, want to government to review its policy on the employment of third country nationals so as to facilitate their work.
The government has not turned down the request, believing that this may help attract foreign investors.
The request - first submitted about a year ago by companies from China, India and Russia - has been revived. Their main argument for wishing to employ university graduates from their own country is knowledge of the language and culture of the clients they are dealing with, qualifications Cypriots do not have.
Informed sources said the government recently approved a request of a large Limassol-based company to employ about 170 foreign graduates.
The company has also hired a number of Cypriots.
The companies' request is expected to be examined early next week by the ministerial committee on the employment of third country nationals.
On the agenda is discussion of a review of the strategy on the employment of third country nationals, focusing particularly on:
- changing the precondition as regards giving priority to Cypriots for employment by foreign companIes
 - the number of foreign employees in a company to rise from the current 30% to 60%.
- amending the decree as regards the duration of the initial approval of the employment of a third country national from 12 to 15 months.
- a downward revision of salaries.
Under the current decree salaries should be in line with collective agreements and laws here.
- review of the current four-year ceiling for employment.


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