Cyprus reached an agreement with Bangladesh that will immediately expedite procedures for the return of Bangladeshi nationals from the island country.
The agreement was signed on last Saturday during a meeting between the Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Cyprus Interior Minister Nicos Nouris during the 3rd International Ministerial Conference on Combating the Financing of Terrorism in New Delhi, India.
The two ministers discussed ways of bilateral cooperation on migration and the return of undocumented Bangladeshi nationals, reports Financial Mirror, a news portal of Cyprus.
They agreed to speed up these returns and eradicate any bureaucratic procedures and difficulties.
Bangladesh ranks among the top 10 countries whose citizens have sought asylum in Cyprus, according to the Cyprus government data.
Last year, over 600 Bangladeshis applied for asylum, and so far this year, over 800 applications have been filed.
Almost all of these applications got rejected as Bangladesh is considered a safe country of origin, meaning that people from here are not eligible for international protection.
The Pournara reception centre for asylum-seekers, the largest refugee camp in Cyprus, which is designed to accommodate about 1,000 people is currently housing more than double the number, including some 200 Bangladeshis.
According to the Cyprus government, about 90% of migrants enter via Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north through a loosely regulated student visa system.
Thousands of people then cross the UN buffer zone to seek asylum in the Republic.
Cyprus says it is on the frontline of the bloc's irregular migration flows with the highest number of asylum applicants per population.
The government claims asylum-seekers comprise an EU high of 5% of the island's 9,15,000 people in the Republic – a record figure across the EU.
This year, 4,019 migrants who had their asylum applications rejected have either been deported or voluntarily repatriated.
Until July, 13,818 have applied for asylum from 13,325 in the whole of 2021.
More than 1500 asylum applications are received every month.
The Republic of Cyprus says it offers legal ways for students and workers to come to the country and suggested that migrants use these possibilities to avoid falling prey to human traffickers.
Students can come here to study, and the process is the same as in the US and other Western countries. They can apply directly. It's also the same for people who want to come to work in different sectors in Cyprus.
Some recruiters help companies hire workers from abroad.
Ruben Pavlou Kalaydjian, Bangladesh's honorary consul in Cyprus, recently told Deutsche Welle, "Five to seven hundred workers from Bangladesh legally come to Cyprus every year to work in different sectors. One should take this opportunity instead of taking any illegal route to the island state."