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Pensions for repatriates.


Jacqueline Agathocleous

THE GOVERNMENT is preparing a bill that will enable repatriates from third countries -- mainly South Africa -- to receive pensions and other benefits.

According to the Chairman of the House Labour Committee, AKEL's Andreas Fakontis, based on current legislation, someone must have lived in Cyprus permanently for at least 20 years to be entitled to a pension.

"The timeframe creates problems for our repatriates, who have been living in South Africa and aren't covered by an insurance plan and don't receive benefits, either from the country they are coming from or the Cyprus Republic," said Fakontis after his Committee had discussed the matter on Thursday.

"So we have asked the Labour Ministry to examine the possibility of reducing the years that are demanded for residence in Cyprus -- meaning the 20 years -- so a repatriate from South Africa can be entitled to a social pension," said Fakontis.

He added that Labour Minister Sotiroula Charalambous had viewed this proposal "in a positive light" and prepared a monthly payment scheme for repatriates over 65 years old, who aren't entitled to any other pensions.

"Based on a study carried out by the Labour Ministry, it seems there are around 1,800 repatriates from South Africa in Cyprus, over the age of 65, as well as 130 people from other countries, who don't receive any benefits or pensions," Fakontis explained. "This scheme will apply income criteria, will clarify the term repatriate and there will be another provision ensuring that those entitled to a pension aren't receiving benefits from elsewhere."

Furthermore, for repatriates receiving pensions that are lower than that offered by the government, the Labour Ministry will add to the amount to bring it up to local levels.

"The Labour Ministry is at the final stage of examining this law, it will discuss the bill with the Finance Ministry and very soon, the government will submit a bill that offers solutions to a big problem that is faced by repatriates, our compatriots, who arrive mainly from South Africa and receive no pension or other public benefit," said Fakontis.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Jun 12, 2010
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