Business Breakfast for the access of persons under international protection in the labour market

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The first of its kind Business Breakfast was organised on 11th June by UNHCR Cyprus and the Cyprus Refugee Council (CyRC), in the framework of this year’s World Refugee Day (20th June). Employers and Human Resource Managers from a diverse range of sectors gathered to learn more about the free employment platform HelpRefugeesWork. The event also initiated a dialogue with stakeholders from the private sector, which is essential in improving the access of refugees and subsidiary protection beneficiaries in the Cypriot labour market.

In her welcome speech Ms Katja Saha, the Representative of UNHCR in Cyprus, highlighted the importance of employment as a core part of the refugee integration process. She referred to the Global Compact for Refugees, which paves the way for enhancing refugee’s potential to become self-sufficient and at the same time benefit the host communities. In introducing the HelpRefugeesWork platform, she noted the barriers that refugees usually face in finding jobs that meet their skills, and expressed the hope that through this initiative, and with the support of the private sector, the employability of refugees will be improved.  Ms Corina Drousiotou, Senior Legal Advisor and Coordinator at CyRC, noted that integration is key for the refugee population as it ensures dignity and self-worth; through every-day community links and interactions, refugees can become an integral part of the wider host society.  Ms Nadia Karayianni, representing IMH, a registered employer on the HelpRefugeesWork platform, said that participating in the HelpRefugeesWork initiative has multiple benefits and the results are very encouraging.

Lastly, Mr Manos Mathioudakis, Integration Officer at CyRC, stressed the importance of actively shaping a more inclusive business culture in Cyprus, by providing opportunities to persons with International Protection. He then presented the HelpRefugeesWork platform, a free web service which enables businesses to connect with suitable job-seekers from the refugee population.

Participants raised questions and discussed ideas, opportunities for the engagement of refugees, their diverse skills and backgrounds, as well as their rights to employment. It is worth noting that, contrary to other third country nationals currently residing in Cyprus, persons under international protection are entitled to full access to the labour market. It is estimated that a significant percentage of refugees have a high school leaving certificate, and are university graduates, including postgraduate and doctoral studies.

The employment opportunities for asylum-seekers were also discussed further to the recent decision of the Labour Ministry to expand the sectors of the economy in which asylum-seekers are allowed to work. Human resources managers from those new sectors noted during the discussions that while this is positive shift in policy, they face many bureaucratic impediments that renders the employability of asylum-seekers very difficult to impossible.

The event took place on Tuesday, June 11th 2019, at the Mouson Bar Restaurant in Nicosia.

For more information about the HelpRefugeeWork Platform and the event, please contact Annagrace Messa, via email at or via telephone 22205959, or visit the website of Cyprus Refugee Council.

About HelpRefugeesWork

HelpRefugeesWork is an innovative and free web service that brings motivated refugee job-seekers in contact with employers and training providers in Cyprus in an easy and efficient manner. HelpRefugeesWork is an initiative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Office in Cyprus, in collaboration with its NGO partner, the Cyprus Refugee Council.


UNHCR was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950 to help millions of refugees in the aftermath of World War II. We work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country, having fled persecution or war at home. We help to build better futures for refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people, many of whom have nobody left to turn to.

In Cyprus, UNHCR opened an office in 1974 to organise and coordinate humanitarian assistance for the displaced populations in both communities. Today, UNHCR’s primary objective is to assist the Government to further develop and improve its asylum legislation, procedures and capacities for a refugee protection system fully in line with international standards. We seek to ensure respect for refugee rights and acceptable standards of treatment of asylum-seekers, particularly as regards access to asylum procedures, reception conditions and freedom of movement. We promote good practices in relation to policies and measures that support the effective integration of refugees into the social, economic and cultural fabric of Cypriot society. We advocate for Cyprus’ accession to the UN Conventions for the prevention of statelessness and the protection of stateless persons.

About Cyprus Refugee Council

Cyprus Refugee Council (CyRC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that works to safeguard, support and advocate for the rights of vulnerable groups in Cyprus, promoting their effective integration into the host society. Focusing on refugees, asylum seekers, detainees, trafficking victims and survivors of torture, CyRC works closely with the local society in order to provide quality services at the individual, community and policy level.

More info on this topic: Labour integration for refugees in Cyprus beneficial for society and economy by: Kyriaki Christodoulou | Cyprus News Agency (CNA)