In September 2020, three laws were passed towards a more effective management of the migration flows that Cyprus receives, aiming to modernize the “asylum seeker” status.

· The Refugee (Amendment) Law of 2020 gives the Head of the Asylum Service the power, at the same time as issuing a rejection decision on the asylum application, to issue a decision of return or removal or deportation decree in a single administrative act, as well as to regulate the issue of notification of that decision.

· The Establishment and Functioning of the Administrative Court of International Protection (Amending) Law of 2020, stipulates that an appeal before the Administrative Court of International Protection against a decision of the Head of the Asylum Service or the Refugee Review Authority is filed within three days due decision, whilst there is also an abbreviation for the deadline for appealing procedures.

· The Law on Aliens and Immigration (Amendment) (Amendment) (No. 3) Law of 2020, allows the decision to return and / or expel an asylum seeker to be issued at the same time as the rejection decision on the application for international protection in a single administrative act.

Hereinafter, a person who wants to permanently reside in Cyprus as an asylum seeker should have been aware of those alterations.

Although, others should take into consideration a plethora of other options. The right way to gain both security and safety is through Government Approved Immigration Schemes.

Non-EU workforce is entitled to receive Cyprus residence and work permits under special provisions for Cyprus companies with foreign interest.

There are three (3) categories of staff which are entitled to receive Immigration Work Permits, upper management staff, middle management staff and supporting staff. For each category, criteria for applying vary and prior to approval, the Cyprus company of foreign interest must be approved by the Migration Department as a company of foreign interest.

Under this category, applicants can either be third-country nationals who married Cypriot citizens as well as their minor children, third country nationals who wish to extent their temporary residence permit and have adequate financial resources from abroad and third country nationals who wish to obtain their temporary residence permit because they will marry a Cypriot or an EU citizen.

Naturalization based on years of residence is another option. Applicants can be foreign nationals who have completed seven (7) years of legal residence in Cyprus prior to their application. Only if applicants are either children or parents of Cypriot citizens, legal residence time required is five (5) years. In both cases, applicants must have lived legally and continuously in the island for the twelve months preceding the application.

Also, nationals coming from third countries wishing to stay in Cyprus for more than three (3) months, can apply for the Temporary Residence Permit as a Visitor, with no employment rights. Moreover, anyone who wishes to enter the Republic of Cyprus for ninety (90) days or less and originates from third countries that not special treaties are being signed, must apply and obtain a Visa as visitors for either business or pleasure.

There are various categories for Visa applications, such as Airport Transit Visa (category A), Short-stay Visa for 1 to 90 days (Category C), Multiple entry Visa for up to 5 years (Category C), Visa issued at the border (Category C), Visa Extension (Category C) and Long-Stay Visa (Category D). Keep in mind that having a valid visa does not grant its owner the absolute right of entry to the Republic of Cyprus and applicants will be required to provide specific evidence upon arrival.

Consequently in order to receive Nationality as a spouse of a Cypriot citizen third country nationals applying for Nationality acquisition, will have to show that they have completed three (3) years married and two (2) years as residents in Cyprus. Family members of Cypriot citizens, who are not citizens of an EU Member-State, can be eligible for a Residence Card which must be submitted by their family members within four months from the entry date into Cyprus.

Notes:

Christofi, Meraklis & Co LLC is ready to assist and advise you in relation to any issues related to the immigration procedure in Cyprus and any legal implications. The content of this article is valid as at the date of its first publication. It is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you seek professional advice on your specific matter before acting on any information provided.

For further information or advice, please contact Antonia Frangou, at info@cmllc.eu