General Policy Recommendations:

1. A comprehensive integration policy for TCNs (Third Country Nationals) should be formulated and steps be taken to implement such a policy at national, regional and local levels.

2. A refugee integration policy should be put in the framework of a comprehensive policy for the integration of TCNs, while giving due consideration to the special needs of refugees.

3. Persons under Subsidiary Protection and Protection on Humanitarian Grounds should be allowed to take part in integration provisions for refugees.

4. Refugees should be comprehensively informed immediately upon recognition of their rights and duties and be invited to participate in a thoroughly designed course aiming at facilitating their integration in Cyprus.

Public Information Recommendations:

5. A public information campaign to make the rights and obligations of refugees known to a wider public and sensitize it on the fact that there are recognized refugees now living in Cyprus, should be carried out.

6. An official leaflet should be published, stating the rights and obligations of refugees in Cyprus and the reason why refugee status is granted to a person. The effective distribution of it should be carefully studied, planed and monitored.

7. A cultural mediators’ scheme should be implemented in order to facilitate access and contact of refugees with mainstream services. A possible way could be to fund partner organizations of the civil society.

8. Measures should be taken to adequately and systematically train teachers in human rights, with a particular emphasis on non-discrimination and the need to respect difference. The initiatives started in this regard should have follow up and expansions phases.

9. Intercultural activities (such as concerts, exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and so forth) should be encouraged and funded by the Cypriot administration.

Training of Civil Servants Recommendations:

10. High-ranking and senior public administration officers should be thoroughly informed about issues concerning refugees to ensure balanced public information through them.

11. Policy makers and service providers in the Cypriot administration should be thoroughly informed about the rights of refugees in order to eliminate confusion and ensure that refugees’ concerns are taken into account and proper services are provided.
12. Policy makers and service providers, particularly in the areas of health, social services, education and employment advice, should be adequately trained in the consequences of language difficulties, physical and psychological trauma and cultural/religious differences in general and on the integration process of refugees.

13. All public administration officials who come into contact with immigrants and refugees should be adequately trained in skills of intercultural communication and their language skills should be improved.

14. Officers of the District Labor Offices should be adequately trained in refugee related matters such as: the rights refugees have in accessing the labor market in a comprehensive manner; the assessment and recognition of qualifications and/or practical skills refugees might have; filing complaints of refugees regarding discriminatory treatment by employers; language skills (English); and intercultural sensitivity and awareness.

15. District Welfare Officers should be adequately trained in refugee related matters such as consequences of language difficulties, physical and psychological trauma and cultural/religious differences on the integration process of refugees, to secure the appropriate functioning of this important institution.

16. Criteria regarding multicultural competencies and language skills should be included in the recruiting schemes for new personnel in the relevant services.

Housing Recommendations:

17. Welfare Offices should increase their efforts in assisting refugees to secure adequate housing.

18. Welfare Offices should consider timely, effectively and expeditiously contributing to rental expenses of low-income refugees (especially families) through rental subsidies.

19. Refugees complying with the income criteria stated for access to the social housing program “New Housing Policy for non-refugees [of 1974]” should be admitted as beneficiaries in the same way as citizens.

20. The refugee information leaflet should be distributed to landlords as well.

Education and Training Recommendations:

21. Language tuition should be made available to refugees without cost, be intensive, timed to refugees’ needs and interlinked to other aspects of integration (such as employment, housing). Separate provisions should be made for adult refugees, refugee youth and children respectively.

22. Language courses should be provided also to asylum-seekers, as in many instances, future refugees could already have learned the language while waiting for recognition.

23. All refugee children should receive adequate language training through the appointment of extra teachers. This provision should also be applied to secondary schools.
24. Introductory courses to Cyprus should be set up. Such a program should have a broad scope and include also TCNs (Third Country Nationals) coming to Cyprus, as they are in need of such an institution as well, but due attention should be paid to the particularity of the situation refugees find themselves in. Highly desirable would be to include introductory courses in language classes and include related aspects of integration.

25. Refugees should be included in the “Action for the vocational training and promotion of the employment of public assistance recipients” financed by the European Social Fund.

26. Refugees should be timely and systematically enabled to participate in mainstream vocational training programs, as soon as they have reached a certain level of competence in the Greek language in view of enhancing their position in the labor market.

27. Access to the apprenticeship scheme should be granted to refugee youth and the Apprenticeship Board should be duly encouraged to implement measures contributing to integrating young refugees in this scheme.

Employment Recommendations:

28. An official leaflet on the employment rights and obligations of refugees should be published, or this information should be included in the general refugee information leaflet.

29. Discrimination of refugees in accessing the labor market and in the workplace (especially of refugee women) should be effectively combated. Appropriate mechanisms will need to be put in place, including systematically informing them where to report incidents, as well as confidence building mechanisms to ensure that they make full and effective use of the existing institutions to that effect.

30. It should be ensured that refugees receive the same salaries and benefits as Cypriot employees in similar tasks, and work the same number of hours.

31. Access should be given to refugees to the program for young business start-up’s and measures should be taken to inform them (through the District Labor Offices) about the possibility of benefiting from this program.

Civil Society Involvement Recommendations:

32. NGO involvement and initiatives by actors of the civil society in refugee integration should be encouraged and funded. Cooperation between state services and NGOs regarding refugee integration should be enhanced and expanded, namely through grant programs on project basis. This could be done in the framework of the Grants-in-Aid Scheme.

33. Refugee community organizations should be assisted with material support and training to overcome organizational and structural difficulties and ultimately to serve for refugee empowerment.

34. Advisory boards for the participation of TCNs and refugees should be set up at the local level of municipalities.

Welfare Recommendations:

35. The Department of Social Welfare should consider the requests of refugees for assistance in a favorable and expeditious manner, taking into account the difficult situation many refugees find themselves in.

36. The Pancyprian Welfare Council should be notified about the rights and obligations of refugees and measures should be taken to encourage this organization to include refugees in their policies and practical activities. As refugees face a variety of problems in their efforts to integrate, social support and counseling should be made available; either through funding for NGOs promoting such services or through the District Welfare Services.

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