Constantinos Ioannou on the next steps for immigration management

Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou presented the measures being taken by his Ministry to manage the immigration issue at the 14th Nicosia Economic Congress.

Speaking at the 9 April event in Nicosia, the Interior Minister analysed the measures to deal with immigration, the objectives, the actions being taken and the impact of the issue.

The reassessment of Syria's regime was one of the most important points he touched on, amid the growing number of Syrians arriving by sea from Syria and mainly from Lebanon. On this, the Minister stated that Syrian nationals are considered refugees and receive supplementary protection status.

"The transport of Syrians is organised by networks of traffickers," he also said, referring to "the reluctance of the Lebanese authorities to cooperate towards a more effective surveillance of its coasts".

The reinforcement of support for Lebanon and the initiation of the process for signing an agreement between the EU and Lebanon are among the drastic measures being taken by Cyprus to solve the problem.

Furthermore, the Minister stated that the government's next steps include taking an initiative in the EU to reassess, based on the actual conditions prevailing in the country, collectively by all EU states, the status of specific areas in Syria and classifying them as safe for repatriation, at least on a pilot basis.

On the objectives of the Republic and the establishment of an echelon with the cooperation of Europol, the Foreigners and Immigration Service of the Cyprus Police and the Lebanese Authorities, for more effective border surveillance in Lebanon.

At this point, he also referred to Lebanon's commitments after the 8 April meeting held in Beirut together with the President of the Republic of Cyprus in the context of his meeting with the Prime Minister of the country.

Earlier, Ioannou presented the measures for the social inclusion and integration of immigrants and the pillars of the Action Plan concerning education, employment and skills development. Health and housing are also among the pillars through a series of actions.

The competent Minister went on to make a thorough analysis of the efforts to improve the infrastructure, with the basic upgrade of the Pournara Reception Centre and the upgrade and expansion of the The Reception and Accomodation Center for Applicants for International Protection in Kofinou.

The construction of a new Limnes Hospitality Centre and the Pre-Departure Center in Mennogeia are also part of the actions.

"The start of work on the creation of a Pre-Departure Center in Mennogeia, which will significantly contribute to the effort to strengthen the sector of returns, since a place of detention is now being created for immigrants, whose application has been definitively rejected and who have been arrested by the Police for deportation," he stated.

Speeding up asylum application processing also plays an important role in immigration management. On this, Ioannou reminded the audience that the goal of the government is to complete the examination of asylum applications within 30 days.

According to Ioannou, specific routes and trends are being recorded in irregular migration. "A large percentage comes from safe countries (mainly Sub-Saharan Africa), while the vast majority of irregular immigrants arrived in our country through the Green Line," he said. It was also found that there are trafficking rings that exploit migrants.

"Smugglers advertise Cyprus as a 'financial paradise', where migrants can have access to work and large amounts of benefits," he said.

Presented by: ECOMMBX, Hellenic Life, Pancyprian Insurance

Sponsors: Cyfield, Harris Kyriakides, KPMG, Philip Morris Cyprus, UW Group

Organisers: The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus, GOLD magazine

Moderator: IMH

Sponsor: Invest Cyprus

Communication Sponsors : ALPHA Cyprus, CBN, IN Business magazine, Reporter, Super FM

(Source: InBusinessNews)

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