Hello there guest. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! Ministry of Foreign Affairs unveils new Foreign Worker Program amid labour shortage, population decline Propontis, 9 September 2019 | Vasileios Eipirotis Hello there guest. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! The Main Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Empire of Pelasgia in downtown Propontis The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Empire of Pelasgia has unveiled a new Foreign Worker Program titled "Europa". The Program is meant to respond to the labour shortage caused by the aging and gradual shrinking of Pelasgia's population. The shortage in question has particularly affected unskilled and low-wage fields of employment, given the high degree of education of the Pelasgian populace. The "Europa" Program was enacted following the passage of the "Foreign Residency Reform Act" (Act no. 403 of 2019) by the Common Parliament, at the behest of the Constitutional Democratic Party government headed by Themistoklis Notaras. The "Europa" Program could allow as many as 300,000 foreign workers to remain and work in Pelasgia for up to five years. Following this period, all the visas would have to be reconsidered, allowing some to stay in case of a renewal and obliging others to return to their home countries. The Government would favour the latter, to allow new workers to get a chance to work in Pelasgia, though past membership will be considered as a positive factor for new applications. The main sectors being targeted would be manual labour, such as construction and stevedore work, janitorial work, elderly and house care, and other low skill professions. However, some higher skill professions, such as foreign market analysts and foreign language teachers would also be included, the latter favouring Pelasgia as a safe, wealthy and culturally rich destination to practice during the early years of their careers. The requirements for higher skill positions are not to be relaxed, according to the Government, given that there is no shortage for those segments of the labour market right now. Nevertheless, many thousands of skilled foreign workers choose to apply to live and work in Pelasgia every year. Currently, the Government has chosen to only extend the "Europa" Program to a handful to culturally, economically or diplomatically proximate countries, such as Eiffelland-Retalia, the Engell Republics (including Clarenthia), the Scanian states, the Holy Germanian Empire, and Natal. The Government has also integrated a special process for Burgundian refugees in those countries. Applicants will have to meet rigorous criteria, such as language tests, cultural integration courses and reviews of their skills, experience, financial and family status and recommendations. Criminal background checks and other such security and immigration inquiries will also be made. All applications will have to be submitted abroad, and the applicant will need their permit to be approved before traveling to Pelasgia. Nevertheless, the initiative has been opposed by some of the more hard-line conservative elements both within and without the government coalition, as well as by some leftist parties which decry the move as an attempt to undercut Pelasgia's own unionised workers. At the same time, most members of the Boule of Representatives applauded the measure as "necessary and timely", in the words of Mr. Nikolaos Papadiamantiou, a Moderate Democratic Representative from Sindos. The Pelasgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PELSEV) also expressed its support for the initiative. In other news ☞ (Education) – A week before the Pelasgian school year starts, the Ministry of National Education and Research has published a strict new dress code for schools, in response to some of last year's "excesses". The plan comes on top of other reforms unveiled by the Ministry, such as new textbook, smaller classes mandated to a maximum of twenty students, and the introduction of practical skills classes such as personal finance and two more years of home economics. So far, the Ministry has declined any reform of the National Examination system. ☞ (International) – Pelasgian whaling ships in the Southern Thaumatic Ocean attacked face harassment and even attacks and sabotage by Clarenthian activists, according to reports by the Pelasgian Chamber of Shipping. The Government of Pelasgia has denounced the attacks and has called on the activists to cease their "reckless actions", citing the fact that repeated violations could lead to prosecution for piracy under admiralty law and that "Pelasgian sailors and whalers have a right to earn their living safely, and they thus have a right to defend themselves". ☞ (Entertainment) – 64th Propontis International Festival to open its doors to theatrical pieces, films and other kinds of art from across Europe with the patronage of Pegasus Heavy Industries S.A. the Imperial Family of Pelasgia. The Festival is to be hosted at the National Opera House and the Propontis State Theatre and to be attended by over six hundred prominent artists, intellectuals, journalists, critics and other notable personalities from across the globe. This year's proceeds will partly go towards helping refugees from the war-torn areas of Gallo-Germania and eastern Himyar.