Georgiadis dispels Pakistani claims: "We only have labour agreements only with Georgia, India and Moldova"

Adonis Georgiadis, Pakistani Jawad Sohrab

Minister of Labour and Social Insurance Adonis Georgiadis dispelled claims made by a Pakistani minister that workers from the South Asian country can fill the void in Greece's labour shortages.

Greek social media was set alight on Tuesday after a Pakistani minister announced that his country was ready to help fill Greece's shortage of labourers, revealing that half a million workers are being sought.

However, Georgiadis was quick to dispel the claim a labour deal with Pakistan would be signed "in the coming days."

"Because many people ask me with which countries we negotiate Interstate Agreements for the importation of labour: Georgia, India and Moldova. It is followed by the Philippines, Vietnam and Armenia. Pakistan is not among them," the Greek minister said on Twitter.

His response was prompted by a post made by Pakistan's State Minister Jawad Sohrab.

"My meeting with the Greek Labour Minister Adonis Georgiadis was extremely productive in exploring strong collaborations. We're focused on fulfilling Greece's need for 500,000 skilled workers, particularly in construction. InShaAllah in the coming days we will sign a G2G agreement with Greece, which will unlock vast job opportunities in Greece for our Pakistanis," posted Sohrab on Tuesday, causing an outrage on Greek social media.

Clarifying the issue on December 20, Georgidis posted on social media, "Pakistan still wants such an agreement but it is not in our political priorities."

"In order not to create misunderstandings in the Common Opinion as to whether we have signed or intend to sign an Interstate Agreement with Pakistan on the importation of labor from this Country I inform you of the following. A) an interstate agreement is not made in secret as it must pass through the Parliament to be valid. That is, it is not a paper signed by a minister. B) already from the previous political leadership of the Ministry of Immigration Policy, this country had expressed a keen interest in signing such an agreement, but nothing of the kind ultimately happened. After all, it should include the obligation of Pakistan to accept back those illegals from this country who have already come to Greece. C) my official meeting with my Pakistani counterpart was not done secretly but openly and I posted about it last week. D) Pakistan still wants such an agreement but it is not in our political priorities. The countries with which we are close to signing such interstate agreements were announced to the Parliament, which is also the only sovereign to approve or reject such agreements. Generally calm. I told you to trust us!"

Earlier, Kyriakos Velopoulos, the leader of the "Greek Solution" party, wrote on Twitter: "We don't know what to believe anymore with these people who rule and have made the country an endless circus! The Pakistani government claims that Greece will need 500,000 Pakistanis for construction projects and has agreed to take them in! Will the government tell us if it is true?"

Georgiadis responded to Velopoulos on Twitter, saying:

"Dear [Party] President, during my participation in the International Labor Conference in Riyadh, my Pakistani counterpart asked me for a meeting (I have made a relevant post). There he asked me whether the 500,000 jobs that Greece is asking for could include a workforce from Pakistan. Not 500,000 from there but a share from there. I told him that an interstate agreement should be made first, that's why he writes: "with the help of God, let an Agreement be made...". It has not been done, i.e. they would like it to be done. As we informed Parliament with the responsible Minister Dimitris Kairidis and today the first 3 agreements are with Georgia, Moldova and India and then with Vietnam, Philippines and Armenia. We are not considering such an agreement with Pakistan. We believe that with these countries and the Amendment we voted for today we will cover our needs. Merry Christmas."

Parliament approves amendment for non-EU seasonal workers in agriculture

An amendment by the Migration & Asylum Ministry on employing seasonal workers from non-EU countries in Greece's agricultural sector was approved in a plenary vote on Tuesday.

It was approved by a majority of 262 MPs (in a 300-MP House), rejected by 32, while one independent MP voted 'present'.

Opposition parties Greek Solution, Spartiates and Niki rejected the bill, as did former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and an independent MP.

Five other MPs (one from SYRIZA, one from PASOK and three from Spartiates) did not attend the plenary session.

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