A total of 21,565 submitted political asylum applications were still unprocessed by last year’s end and this hot issue appears to be new Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou’s biggest challenge.
Nonetheless, the first couple of months of 2023 have recorded a decrease in applications and this is interpreted as a positive sign, Philenews also reported on Tuesday.
Specifically, a total of 1,386 applications were submitted in January 2022 alone but one year later – that is in January 2023 – the overall number was 702.
The main countries of origin of irregular migrants are Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Congo.
Ioannou, who took office last Wednesday, has already visited the island’s overcrowded first reception centre in Kofinou and the detention centre in Limnes area in Menoyia. This is where irregular migrants are held before getting departed from Cyprus.
Asylum requests are granted drop by drop, with 568 in 2022 for 21,565 registered applications while 6,805 applicants were awaiting a decision on appeal.
Curbing irregular migration is a major concern for the Cypriot population and a critical matter for the new administration of Nikos Christodoulides who won February 12’s presidential elections.
A much faster processing of asylum applications has been a pre-election campaign promise.