Asylum applications increased by 87% in 2021

In 2021 a total of 13.235 people entered the country and applied for asylum - How many of them were illegal arrivals

asylum seekers, Immigrants

Asylum applications in Cyprus increased by 87% from 2020 to 2021, according to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Study of the Demographic Problem, which examined the pressures facing Cyprus in relation to the issue.

The Chairman of the Committee, MP of ELAM Linos Papagiannis, in his statements quoted data that, as he said, "show how much the situation has escaped".

As he said, in 2021 a total of 13.235 people entered the country and applied for asylum. Of these, 12.285 were illegal arrivals from various parts of the green line, confirming - as he said - ELAM's assessment that Turkey is implementing a specific plan. He also said that the vast majority come from African countries, while 1/5 of asylum seekers are Syrians. He also mentioned that for 2021 there were 16.249 decisions of which 9.000 have been rejected. There were, he added, 1.777 voluntary returns and 1.829 applications made subsequently.

He also said that in the last two months about 2.274 people were deported from Cyprus and a total of 2.320 in 2021. Mr. Papagiannis said that the plan made for the deportations according to the statements of the competent Ministers was about three times, so they are not satisfied. He also said that following his own complaints to the Commission, several dozen illegal immigrants have been arrested at points he pointed out.

At the same time, he stated that the efforts made by Cyprus for the repatriation of Syrians to their country were not similar. As he said when Konstantinos Petridis was Minister of Interior, Syria had demanded the repatriation of Syrians to the country. But to do so, he said, the Interior Ministry replied that Syria should be considered a safe haven at European level.

"Both the Syrian embassy and other Syrian diplomats believe that we have not exhausted our margins as a state and that the efforts of all the Ministries involved have not been commensurate," he said.

He also said that Denmark has already made 92 deportations to Syria and they are expected to see if they will eventually face any punishment.

DISY MP Prodromos Alampritis said that unfortunately Cyprus is facing an unbearable weight more than its share. In 2021 he said, there were 13.235 asylum applications compared to 7.094 in 2020, so there was an increase of 87%. He added that the majority are from African countries, while many use the illegal regime of the occupied and come to the free areas through the illegal airport in the occupied Tympos.

It was suggested to ask for EU assistance through FRONTEX and Europol for the protection of the Union's external borders as well as financial support for those in need. He also suggested better monitoring of the green line and stricter penalties for traffickers and exploiters of human suffering and, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreements be reached with countries for the repatriation of illegal immigrants.