Asylum claims in Cyprus have increased sharply | Photo : InfoMigrants
Asylum claims in Cyprus have increased sharply | Photo : InfoMigrants

The head of the European Parliament has expressed concern at the growing number of migrants arriving in Cyprus. Irregular migrants make up more than 5% of the Cypriot population – a record in the EU.

The president of the European Parliament says a surge in the number of migrants entering Cyprus is "really worrying."

During a visit to the small EU member state, President Roberta Metsola said the arrival of more refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants was of particular concern considering the island's small population.

Proportion of migrants rising

According to the government in Nicosia, 13,000 people applied for asylum in Cyprus between January 1 and mid-August, 2022. Asylum seekers now make up over 5% of the population.

"The growing percentage of migrants compared to the local population poses serious concerns," the Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday following talks with Metsola.

The government in Nicosia has repeatedly called on the EU to help it to manage the arrivals and processing of irregular migrants.

Also read: Sharp rise in migrants reaching Europe via irregular routes

Turkey 'instrumentalizing migration'

Anastasiades also said Friday that Turkey was "instrumentalizing migration" in order to destabilize Cyprus.

Cyprus was split in two in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup on the island aimed at union with Greece. The two sides are divided by a 180-kilometer-long UN buffer zone.

Only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Cypriot government in the north, while the Greek Cypriot government in the south is recognized by the international community.

The Cypriot government says around 90% of irregular migrants first travel to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot north through a loosely regulated student visa system. Thousands then cross the UN buffer zone to seek asylum in the Greek Cypriot south.

Most of the irregular migrants arriving in Cyprus reportedly come from Syria, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

With dpa


More articles