More irregular migrants left Cyprus in 2023 than arrivals

For the first time in over seven years, the total number of irregular migrants that left Cyprus over the past couple of months of 2023 is higher than that of arrivals.

According to the Cyprus Interior Minister, Constantinos Ioannou, who presented an action plan to alleviate Cyprus’ migration challenges, this indicates an improved irregular migration state of play for 2023 even though it is still volatile.

This includes the creation of a deputy migration ministry and the implementation of the Eastern Mediterranean Action Plan and putting pressure on Turkey to help with the flow of migrants to the island.

The Minister also said that asylum applications have increased 490 per cent since 2015, with applicants or those who have received protection now accounting for 6 per cent of the population.

Over the past two months the total number of persons who came to Cyprus irregularly reached 1,646 while the number of those who returned to their countries voluntarily totaled 1,788.

Elaborating on the efforts to send migrants back to their countries, Ioannou said between March-May 2020, the total number was only 132, 387 in 2021 and 1,169 in 2022.

However, from March to May this year the returns have doubled compared to last year, reaching 2,312.

At the same time, there has been a decrease in asylum applications, considering that there were 6,454 in the months of March to May 2022 while – during the same months this year – there were 3,325. That is, less than half as many.

The majority of irregular migrants crossing the divided island’s Green Line by far – the most popular way to arrive to Cyprus.

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