Greek Cypriot police investigate illegal a ring of immigration staff helping asylum seekers

Police in south Cyprus said they are investigating a ring of immigration staff providing illegal privileges to asylum seekers within the immigration department after an officer employed there was arrested for issuing residences with forged documents. 

In the first half of this year, 15 Syrian nationals illegally received supplementary protection status, which provided asylum seekers with privileges such as free medical care and full employment rights, police spokesman Christos Andreou told radio Trito at the weekend.

These privileges were secured using forged documents, which should not have been accepted by the population and immigration department. The people who submitted those documents should have been reported to the police, he said.

“Instead, the documents were stamped and the applicants were given supplementary protection status,” Andreou noted.

He said police are investigating the existence of a ring within the department and the possibility of intermediaries.

On Thursday, a 40-year-old woman, investigated for offences related to corruption, abuse of authority and neglect of official duty, was arrested and remanded for 8 days.

On Friday, six people, aged 21 to 44, were remanded for eight days related to the same case of securing residence permit with forget documents. They are being investigated for offences including conspiracy to commit a felony, fraud, forgery and circulating a forged document.  

On Monday, two more people were arrested, one is a 65-year-old migration department female officer and the other a third country male national, aged 41.

Meanwhile, police are searching for nine more people of non-Cypriot origin.

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