News Local Interior Ministry to update migration and asylum policy

Interior Ministry to update migration and asylum policy

The Ministry of Interior’s new migration and asylum policy will be based on three pillars aiming to deal with an upsurge in irregular migrants, Phileleftheros reports.

It said the move appears to be an attempt to manage increased inflows and to allow the competent authorities to prioritise refugees arriving from war-stricken Syria, whom the state treats as the most vulnerable, over economic migrants from countries such as Georgia, Cameroon, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

In particular, the measures involve

  • expediting the review process of applications
  • the creation of an enclosed hospitality centre for temporary accommodation while applications are being processed so that would-be applicants know in advance that their movements will be restricted
  • securing help from EU-member countries to manage the workload

Data from the Asylum Service show that in 2019 there was a 325% increase in the arrival of asylum applicants  in 2019 compared to the year before with 80% coming from occupied north Cyprus across the Green Line.

Meanwhile, the Kokkinotrimithia hospitality centre is being expanded to increase capacity, for which assistance has been requested by the EU Asylum Service.

The new policy will soon be tabled for discussion before the Council of Ministers.

Since 2009, Cyprus has granted protected status to some 9.200 individuals. Some 17,000 asylum applications are understood to be still pending.

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