18 April 2014 13:56

Tougher rules and measures for immigrants are being suggested by the newly launched Cyprus Institute of Journalism and Immigration Policy.
According to the findings of a study published by the institute, asylum policy in Cyprus is systematically abused by immigrants and the situation can only be addressed through better policing of the island's borders.
"This will require stricter cooperation between the police, the UN and the Sovereign Base Area Authorities," the study said.
The institute further suggests that in cases where applications for asylum fail to meet criteria the application should be immediately rejected and the immigrant ordered to leave Cyprus. "If the refugee refuses to leave they must be arrested by the police and deported."
Based on the findings, between 2009 and 2013 a total 18,098 illegal immigrants were deported from Cyprus.
"This is a satisfactory number that can be increased if the authorities sign extradition agreements with third countries that are considered problematic in this area."  
Regarding human tracking in Cyprus, the study found that based on convictions the majority of traffickers are Turkish nationals living in the free areas and Greek Cypriots.
"To combat this phenomenon there must be close cooperation between the authorities as well fast tracking of cases that reach the courts."
The institute is also calling for changes to regulations that allow foreign housemaids to enter and work in the country.
"According to Immigration Department data, there are currently 30,000 housemaids employed in Cyprus while between 2009 and 2013, 3,310 housemaids went missing and are being sought by the authorities after remaining in Cyprus after their work visas expired."
Meanwhile, the Cyprus Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has expressed concern over changes in refugee legislation, which it said will curtail essential rights of forcibly displaced people who have sought sanctuary in Cyprus.
"We are disappointed that Cyprus has lowered down its standards when it comes to the protection of persons fleeing war and generalized violence," said Damtew Dessalegne, the UNHCR Representative in Cyprus following the publication of the law amendments in the state gazette.
Dessalegne said the new laws take away family reunification rights and protection against expulsion from persons granted subsidiary protection.
Cyprus was heavily criticised last month in an Amnesty International report for separating migrant mothers from their young children.


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