TRNC Parliament approves amnesty' for illegal residents and students, about 5,000 people are expected to benefit

The government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has introduced amnesty for foreigners living illegally in the country.

The Draft Law on Foreigners and Immigration called the National Education (Amendment) Bill, which is described as a 'partial amnesty' for students, prepared by the UBP-DP-YDP Government for foreigners staying on the island illegally or without permission, was passed by the Parliament on Monday.

The new amnesty law will enter into force within 10 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

Those who did amnesty before but continued to remain illegal in the country will not benefit from the amnesty.

According to the new regulation, foreign nationals who are in the country without permission will be able to benefit from amnesty by paying the minimum wage.

“People who are within the scope of the Draft Law and who are already in the country will be able to benefit from this Law by paying a gross minimum wage within 90 days by applying to the required website of immigration. Those who are abroad and have been sentenced will be able to benefit from the immigration amnesty brought by the Draft Law by paying a gross minimum wage, again within 90 days, if they apply to the necessary representative offices and receive a positive response. In addition, if these people were expelled by the state after being smuggled in, the plane, ship, etc. paid by the state. They will be able to benefit from this Law by paying their ticket fees.”

“The families of many people who have been sentenced will also be able to benefit from the amnesty. Children under the age of 25 and disabled children over the age of 18 will also be able to benefit from the amnesty together with the fees paid by their families. 

Minister of Education Nazım Çavuşoğlu, said that the draft law is about the return of the right to education to those who came to the country as students and whose education life was interrupted, which is not within the scope of abuse.

Çavuşoğlu stated that with the implementation of the draft law, students will be able to continue their education.

Noting that the e-visa work with the Ministry of Interior continues, Çavuşoğlu said the country expects a lot from higher education. Important discussions with abuses can hurt the industry. It is our duty to narrow it down… With the e-visa, these abuses will be prevented.”

CTP Deputy Ongun Talat said that amnesty applications should be seen as an exception.

Drawing attention to the importance of the issue that those who benefited from the previous amnesty should no longer benefit from this amnesty so that it does not become a habit, Talat noted that they approach this issue humanely and constructively.

Interior Minister Ziya Öztürkler, on the other hand, stated that they think about 5,000 people may benefit from the amnesty.

HP Deputy Ayşegül Baybars said that informality in the country should not become a habit.

Explaining that there are different conditions for entering the country, Baybars noted that most of the people who come to the country without the record and live on the island come to the island with a tourist visa, and that it is not right to constantly give amnesty to the people who come to the country.

Pointing out that the purpose of coming to the country should be declared, Baybars stated that people who come as tourists do not come to stay in the country, and that the continuation of amnesty for those who come to the country for this purpose increases the informality in the country.

Baybars stated that with this immigration law, amnesty can be granted to those whom the ministry deems appropriate, but that no amnesty will be granted to those who have been dismissed by the court.

Stating that some of the articles in the law are not fully understood, Baybars noted that it is not correct to grant amnesty to those who enter the country as tourists. Saying that informality is a bleeding wound, Baybars stated that the exact number of people living unregistered is not known.  

Interior Minister Ziya Öztürkler also thanked the parliament in his speech for passing the law unanimously.

Öztürkler said that 4,167 people benefited from the amnesty between November 4, 2021 and January 31, and that they wanted to be able to enter the system, and they thought that approximately 5,000 people could benefit this time.

Expressing that their aim is to record what is happening in the country, Öztürkler noted that entry into the country will be regulated and serious control will be ensured as the statute allows.

Expressing that they are working to make the entry into the country more controlled with very serious software, Öztürkler thanked everyone who contributed to the work of the committee and that they went to the correction with the suggestions made by their friends in the main opposition party.

After the speeches, the “Foreigners and Immigration Draft Law” was discussed and voted item by item. Later, the whole bill was discussed and the bill was unanimously approved with 31 votes in favor and 1 abstention.

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