The government of Cyprus has decided to ask permission from the European Commission to suspend asylum applications for persons entering the country illegally in response to the recent sharp increase in undocumented immigration, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos said here on Wednesday.
Following a cabinet meeting, Pelekanos said that in the first ten months of this year 10,868 irregular migrants arrived in the country, 38 percent more than in the same period of 2020.
He said that almost 9,000 asylum applications have been rejected by the Cypriot authorities, but the recent influx of irregular immigrants has added to the more than 33,000 people already residing in Cyprus illegally.
The authorities have reiterated that Cyprus has insufficient capacity to host asylum seekers. Pelekanos said Cyprus will also call for the immediate relocation of a number of asylum seekers to other European Union (EU) states and the repatriation of others to their countries of origin.
He said the request for the suspension of asylum applications will be made pursuant to Article 78 (3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
Interior Minister Nicos Nouris told Parliament that since Oct. 1, between 60 and 100 immigrants per day cross illegally the 180-kilometer buffer zone that divides the island’s Greek and Turkish communities.
Nouris also said that Cyprus plans to purchase a surveillance system to monitor movement along the buffer zone.