The government is considering new measures to address increased migratory pressure after a 76% spike in asylum applications last year, Phileleftheros reported on Friday.
They include speedier processing, shorter time for appeals and refusal to consider applications which blatantly do not satisfy criteria.
The issue was discussed by the National Council on Thursday. A ministerial committee will meet today with the participation of the attorney general. It is scheduled to convene again under President Nicos Anastasiades on Tuesday when decisions are expected to be announced.
As the National Council met, another 75 asylum seekers, the majority of them from African countries, went to immigration department in Engomi and at district officers and asked for asylum.
They were taken to the temporary accommodation centre for asylum seekers at Kokkinotrimithia. Many said they had come from Turkey to the Turkish occupied north and then crossed the Green Line.
Interior Minister Nicos Nourris is meanwhile discussed cooperation with the EU’s Frontex to repatriate those whose applications have been rejected. The cost will be covered by the European Asylum Support Office.
According to figures presented by Anastasiades to political party leaders at the National Council yesterday, 12,917 asylum applications were submitted in 2019 — up 76% on the previous year.
In the first two months of 2020, Cyprus has received 2150 applications. Phileleftheros said 1200 irregular migrants have come to Cyprus of whom only 100 by sea.
There are currently 12,000 people in Cyprus who have been granted international protection, another 17,000 applications are still pending and about 4000 have appealed and their case is currently before the courts. Overall, the 33,000 individuals represent about 3.8% of the population.
Citing sources, Phileleftheros said that the president outlined five measures the government is considering:
- shortening the appeal period in the event of a rejection from the current 75 days
- adopting Spain’s example regarding deportations of irregular migrants
- implementing ways to deter irregular migrants heading towards Cyprus, mainly by sea
- speeding up procedures and on the spot consideration of asylum applications
- on the spot filtering of applications and rejection of those which blatantly do not satisfy the criteria
Other issues discussed were those of third country nationals who come to Cyprus as workers or students and then apply for political asylum. CyBC reported that there are thoughts to prohibit them from doing so.
The meeting also discussed ways of addressing sham marriages.
President Anastasiades asked parties to prepare their own proposals and suggestions so that they too can be reviewed on Tuesday