Cyprus | Number of asylum application examiners has now more than doubled
Defence Redefined
Published on 03/10/2023 at 08:01

With the recruitment of 25 additional members of the Asylum Service, the number of examiners of asylum applications has now more than doubled.

It is estimated that the authorities will be able to examine 2,300 applications per month whereas, with the current reduction to 600-700 applications, it is possible to examine 30,000 pending applications, the Minister of Interior, Konstantinos Ioannou, said on Monday.

Speaking after his visit to the briefing held for the 25 new members of the Asylum Service, Mr. Ioannou expressed his belief that the new personnel will help strengthen the Service. The new examiners will assume their duties in early November.

A press release from the Ministry of Interior states that the number of examiners has tripled in recent months. It is recalled that last April, 27 examiners were hired in the Asylum Service, while with the new hires, the total number reached 82.

The 25 new members of the Asylum Service were informed by the Head and Officers of the Service about the tasks and objectives set by the Ministry regarding the management of asylum requests, it is reported. It is noted that the new personnel will undergo rapid training and will assume duties in early November.

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As for the issue that arose last week regarding the information on the arrival of a large number of Syrians from Lebanon, the Minister stated that, for now, there have been no arrivals and that he is awaiting Lebanon’s response to the five points he had included in his letter for cooperation and support for the country, in terms of increasing their capacity to monitor the seas.

Specifically, in his statements, regarding the recruitment of the 25 new members, Mr. Ioannou said that his Ministry is implementing a pre-election commitment of the President of the Republic, Nikos Christodoulidis, to strengthen and speed up asylum applications.

He noted that at the moment they have managed to reduce examination time to around one to three months, which is a disincentive for someone to come to Cyprus because once an application is examined and rejected – the majority of which are rejected – the benefits and the right to the labor market are suspended.

Asked about the number of arrivals, Mr. Ioannou said that the final figures for September are expected, noting, however, that the preliminary figures are very encouraging.

He said that compared to last year, from April until the end of August, the Republic of Cyprus has received 50% fewer applications for political asylum, from 12,000 to 5,800, while the return of applicants to their countries has increased, again by 50% – from 3,200 to 4,800.

The same is true for September compared to last year, he said, adding that the effort is to reduce flows and increase returns, which is currently being achieved.

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