Cabinet approves creation of immigration ministry

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The Cabinet Thursday approved a bill establishing a Deputy Ministry for Immigration and Asylum to manage migration issues better.

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannnou said the deputy ministry’s goal would be the management of immigration and the protection of those who are legitimate beneficiaries.

He said creating a ministry solely dedicated to migration was a key pillar of the government’s policy.

“An integrated strategy for immigration and asylum will fall under the deputy ministry, aiming to ensure the best management of the phenomenon and offer protection to legal beneficiaries, within international and European obligations of the Republic, with respect for human rights,” said Ioannou.

He said the ministry is expected to contribute to more effectively managing the various parameters related to immigration and asylum based on a series of priorities.

“These priorities concern the prevention of irregular flows and the fight against the networks of traffickers.

“Acceleration of the procedures regarding asylum applications, especially those clearly unfounded, the fight against undeclared work, and improving conditions in the reception centres.”

Other priorities include the integration of third-country nationals through the utilisation of qualifications and skills, which are lacking in the Cypriot labour market, the promotion of a policy for unaccompanied minors, and the implementation of effective return procedures for those who do not have the right to live in the Republic.

The bill will be submitted to the House of Representatives.