In this report we map the discriminatory landscapes of Cyprus, focusing on ethnic discrimination in the labour market. In spite of the various policy declarations, legal provisions and legislation affirming equal treatment for all irrespective of ethnic, 'racial' or other background, there is significant evidence that suggests that in both these fields, as well as in other areas, there are significant variations in the treatment of groups of migrants and of persons from specific ethnic backgrounds. It must be stated that few studies of discrimination as such exist for Cyprus; however, from the little evidence that does exist (official reports and independent research) discriminatory practices are abundant. What emerges is a strong case for investigating further the underlying discourses and structural forces at play, that give rise to discrimination.
As things stand today in Cyprus, following the de facto division of the island since 1974, the main recipients of racial abuse, violence and discrimination, in other words the victims of racism, are what we call 'subaltern migrants' (i.e. migrant workers from south east Asia, the middle east and eastern Europe). Additionally, the Turkish-Cypriots residing in the territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus (i.e. Greek-Cypriot controlled) as well as the Greek-Cypriots residing in the occupied north of the island (i.e. Turkish-Cypriot controlled) are discriminated against, even though they are all Cypriots. For the purposes of this study, we will concentrate on the territory controlled by the Republic of Cyprus, as there is little access to the north and hence difficulty in collecting the relevant data.
Before focusing on the labour market, which constitutes the focus of this paper, we provide a short historical background of immigration to Cyprus and a longer section on the institutional and legal framework of immigration policy relating to the employment of migrant workers.
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