Record year for asylum claims

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Cyprus is creaking under increased migrant flows, said Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, arguing that asylum seekers are 5% of the population, as applications rise by 140%.

Nouris blamed Turkey for putting Cyprus on the frontline of irregular migration.

“Ankara’s practice of instrumentalising migration, which is evolving into a new hybrid threat against Cyprus with the obvious purpose and conscious effort to change the demographics”.

He argued that flows were deliberately channelled through the Turkish occupied north of the island.

“After three years of intensive efforts, the European Commission has for the first time recognised the need for practical support to Cyprus both for the relocation of migrants but also for monitoring the buffer zone and financial support to help manage the migrant overpopulation that exceeds 5% in our semi-occupied homeland.”

The number of applications submitted by asylum seekers has more than doubled in the first five months compared to last year.

According to Kathimerini Cyprus, the island has received 9,647 applications from January to May, an increase of 142% compared to the same period in 2021.

The record year for asylum seekers was 2019 when 13,648 people requested protection from the Republic.

There has been a gradual increase in migrant flows since 2015, with a relative decline during the pandemic.

In 2015 some 2,253 had applied for asylum, increasing in 2016 to 2,936, in 2017 to 4,582, in 2018 to 7,761, to almost double in 2019, reaching 13,648.

In 2020 the numbers fell to 7,094, only to double again in 2021 (13,235).

Of the 13,235 asylum seekers in 2021, 85% entered territories controlled by the Republic from the north.

Of the 9,647 asylum seekers recorded in 2022, 94% had crossed from the north.

Cyprus Police have deported 2,332 third-country nationals in 2022.

On Tuesday, 16 nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo were returned.

Financial Mirror sources say that tens of asylum seekers from Bangladesh will be returning on board a flight leaving the island on Friday.

Most migrants applying for asylum in the first five months were from Africa.

Some 1,735 came from the Congo, which tops the list, and 1,733 from Nigeria.

Syrians follow them, with 1,181 people requesting protection.

NATIONALITIES OF ASYLUM SEEKERS

JANUARY – MAY 2022

CONGO ……………………………………….1,735

NIGERIA ………………………………………1,733

SYRIA ………………………………………….1,181

PAKISTAN …………………………………….977

BANGLADESH ……………………………….648

SOMALIA ………………………………………557

CAMEROON…………………………………… 551

AFGHANISTAN ………………………………..522

INDIA……………………………………………..272

NEPAL ……………………………………………218

OTHER COUNTRIES ………………………….1,253

TOTAL ……………………………………………9,647