These are the Government's immigration measures

The decisions to deal with immigration

2A06EA05 9A6D 4239 88D1 B962BAD1C055 exclusive, Government, Immigrants

The Republic of Cyprus to promote further discussion at the European level of the need to review the status of Syria, is among the decisions, announced by the Government Spokesperson.

The President of the Republic chaired the morning meeting for a more efficient management of immigration. According to the briefing provided by the Government Spokesperson, Konstantinos Letymiotis, during the meeting, which was attended by the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, the Minister of Labor, the Deputy Minister to the President, the Deputy Minister of Social Welfare and the Chief of Police, after a review of the measures that have been taken to date and a great improvement in the situation was found, then opinions were exchanged and it was decided to take additional measures and actions, in order to further improve the good image observed in the last months.
Taking into account that the management of immigration is a priority for the Government, it was found that the timely implementation of decisions that have been made contributed decisively to the improvement of the situation. To date, the following effective measures have been taken and implemented, among others:

Drafting of a Bill for the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Immigration and submission to the House of Representatives.

· More than doubling the number of asylum application examiners, from 31 to 82 with the result that the pending applications will decrease from 30.188 in March 2023 to 26.875 by the end of November.

· Reduction of the application review period to 1 to 3 months maximum.

· Reinforcement of the Returns Office with additional staff.

· Increasing the number of migrations and ensuring a time extension of the program.

· Amendment of the Minimum Guaranteed Income and more generally Social Benefits Laws and their promotion in the Parliament, so that citizens of third countries who hold the legal status provided for by the Refugee Law, have an obligation for a period of 5 years of legal and continuous residence in the Republic of Cyprus that precedes the date of application for EEE.

· Placing an Asylum Service Officer on a permanent basis and carrying out a number of interviews daily, based on a program agreed with the Directorate, in the Central Prisons area.

· Carrying out information campaign in countries of origin – Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo. The information campaign has contributed to a significant decrease in the number of arrivals from these countries, 79 arrivals in November 2023 compared to 595 arrivals in the corresponding month of 2022.

· Increasing the waiting period for the right to employ asylum seekers from 1 to 9 months.

· The upgrade of the fencing in Pournara has been completed for better control of the people living there and greater security for the residents of the area.

· Completion of the interconnection of the Computerized System of the Asylum Service with the Computerized System "Ergani" of the Ministry of Labour.

· Intensification of Police operations in collaboration with the Labor Inspection Department for checks on undeclared work.

· Reinforcement with 3 additional vessels of the Coastal Police for guarding maritime borders.

· Acceleration of adoption procedures for unaccompanied minors who are in Pournara and have relatives in Cyprus.

Execution and implementation of the decree of the Paphos Prefecture, dated November 17, 2021, for the prohibition of the use and residence of the complex "Agios Nikolaos" in the community of Chloraka, pursuant to article 15 of the Roads and Buildings Law, in accordance with the decisions of the special meeting held in August 2023.

· Doubling of the joint FRONTEX forced return flights, in relation to the corresponding period last year, in which the Cyprus Police participates.

· 200% increase in the rate of deportations from the detention center in Menogia.

· Increasing detections and arrests of traffickers of irregular migrants.

· Strengthening of the Foreigners and Immigration Service of the Cyprus Police with a substantial increase in staff.

· Targeted operations of the Cyprus Police, throughout Cyprus.

The measures taken to date have paid off, with the result that asylum applications for the months of March to November 2023 amount to 9.091, compared to 17.065 in the corresponding period last year, while returns for the period from January 1 to December 15, 2023 amount to 9.324 compared to 5.166 in the corresponding period last year, representing an 80% increase in returns, while the month of November saw a record 930 returns/deportations. If we also add the relocations of 1.716 people, then the total number of returns amounts to 11.040 people and for the first time in the history of emigration to Cyprus, more people have left than came in the corresponding period.

In addition to the measures that have already been implemented, additional measures and actions that can be taken in the next period were also decided during the meeting. Specifically, it was decided as follows:

· The Republic of Cyprus, in cooperation with other states, promote further discussion at the European level of the need to review the status of Syria and in particular some areas that have already been designated by international organizations as safe.

· Promote the tightening and doubling of penalties for offenses related to the trafficking of irregular migrants.

· Representations should be made to Interpol to strengthen cooperation with the competent Authorities, and exchange of information.

· Establishment of a special unit to combat illegal immigrant trafficking rings in the Cyprus Police.

· Payment of asylum seeker benefits via prepaid card to ensure that the benefits are actually used to meet living needs.

· Acceleration of Dublin Regulation procedures for family reunification located in other European countries.

The effective management of the increased migration flows remains in the priorities of the administration of President Christodoulides and at the center of the policies promoted by the relevant Ministries, with the aim of definitively dealing with the problem".