Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Thursday the numbers of third-country nationals studying in Cyprus would be cut as he announced the government’s new policy in tackling the massive migration flows to the island.
The measures include cutting student visas for third-country nationals as many supposed students go on to apply for asylum, stricter controls on municipalities as regards civil marriages to avoid sham marriages, and significantly reducing the time it takes to examine asylum applications and rejection appeals.
The minister said that between 2008-2013 the number of asylum seekers was around 13,000, but the migration crisis had seen numbers skyrocket.
Nourish said that after 2014 the numbers reached 34,000, almost Paphos’ population, putting Cyprus on top of the list of EU countries in terms of numbers of asylum seekers.
He reiterated that asylum seekers amount to 3.8 percent of the country’s population, whereas this percentage is under one percent in other frontline countries.
“If this percentage concerned Germany, the number would have been 1,120,000 people,” Norris said.
The minister also called on the EU to do more as regards solidarity between member states on the issue of migrants.
He also chastised “misleading” reports on the alleged adverse living conditions at the migrant reception centers while failing to mention the measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus among residents of these centers.