No easy answer to illegal immigrants

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No easy answer to illegal immigrants

Post  Twosox on Fri Apr 11, 2008 12:09 pm

Courtesy of Cyprus Mail http://www.cyprus-mail.com/news/

THE overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants come from the north, while the passing of illegal immigrants from the occupied to the government controlled areas is difficult to monitor along the 180km ceasefire line, Deputy Chief of Police Michalis Papageorgiou said yesterday.

Police lieutenant of the Immigration Office, Petros Zeniou, presented a research conducted by the FRONTEX Agency, responsible for co-ordinating the activities of the national border guards in ensuring the security of the EU's external borders.

According to figures for 2005, 7,587 illegal immigrants were caught in Cyprus, 5,189 of them crossing from the north, 16 arriving illegally in the free areas, while 2,382 were illegally residing in Cyprus.

In 2006, 6,046 illegal immigrants were caught, 3,735 crossing from the north, 18 landing in the free areas, and 2,293 residing illegally. The number of illegal immigrants caught in 2007 reached 7,770, 5,736 entering from the occupied areas, just seven caught on arrival in the free areas, and 2,027 who were illegal residents. Until February 2008, 672 illegal immigrants had been stopped entering the free areas from the north, two had arrived illegally in the Republic, while 314 were located residing illegally in the island.

The number of asylum seekers in 2005 amounted to 7,651, falling in 2006 to 3,668, rising again in 2007 to 5,163 and until February 2008 standing at 742.

According to Zeniou’s research in 2005, 2,535 of the illegal immigrants caught had come through occupied Tymbou airport, in 2006, 880 and in 2007, 1,880. Much bigger, however, were the numbers of illegal immigrants that reach Cyprus illegally from Turkey by sea. In 2005, the numbers were 2,654, in 2006 in 1,735 and in 2007 in 3,141.

He said Cyprus attracted so many because of the easy access due to its geographic position, the Turkish occupation of the north, opportunities for illegal employment, high standard of living, the respect of human rights in Cyprus, the ease of submission of applications for asylum, the time-consuming processes of examination of asylum claims and the ease of access to benefits.

Concerning the issue of illegal employment, Zenios said that in 2005, 362 employers and 625 illegal immigrants were arrested, in 2006, 592 employers and 1,004 immigrants and in 2007, 734 employers and 1,126 immigrants.

Zenios said deportations were stable, with 2,849 in 2005, 2,983 in 2006, 2,892 in 2007, and 464 in the first two months of this year.

Papageorgiou said that "unfortunately there are no simple answers to the problems connected with immigration, but nevertheless the police are trying to confront the phenomenon with continuous vigilance, and are taking all the necessary measures in the sector of prevention and control".

The Commander of the Aliens and Immigration Unit ,Savvas Theophanous said: “ I hope that the figures really make us think, the objective is the creation of awareness and the sensitisation of the public for collaboration with the relevant bodies for the confrontation of the phenomenon of illegal immigration.”

Twosox
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