Asylum seeker returns almost double

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Returns of failed asylum seekers this year had exceeded 4,370 and are significantly higher than in 2022 when they were 2,353, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said.

On Thursday, he met Nina Gregory, Executive Director of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and Beate Gminder, Deputy Director-General for Migration and Internal Affairs of the European Commission to discuss asylum and migration issues.

During the Nicosia meeting, the minister provided updates on migration, while the discussion included funding from the EU, strengthening cooperation, and a review of the Operational Plan signed between Cyprus and the EASO.

Ioannou expressed gratitude to the European Commission and the EU agency as two of “Cyprus’ most valuable partners for their efforts in managing migratory flows.

He said the current situation presents a better image compared to last year.

According to the ministry announcement, asylum seekers in 2023 (until the end of June) were 5,563, compared to 12,048 in 2022.

Furthermore, the returns in 2023 exceeded 4,370 and were almost double last year (during the same period) when they were 2,353.

During the meeting with the two European officials, the minister said the current numbers show positive progress and indicate the measures taken so far yield results.

However, he emphasised that there is no room for complacency.

“The situation remains significant to be addressed, and we all have a significant role to play”.

The officials emphasised Cyprus’s progress in asylum and reception procedures and the area of returns.

They visited (photo) the upgraded Kofinou Reception Center, which has completed its basic renovation and expansion work and is scheduled to start operating and accommodating migrants in approximately two weeks.