Cyprus Calls EU to Investigate Turkish-Cypriot Universities Following Student Visa Misuse Reports

The Cypriot government has asked the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) to investigate Turkish universities in the northern region of the state, citing human smuggling as the main reason for concerns.

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According to the Interior Ministry of Cyprus, there are at least 188 irregular migrants who have been able to pass the buffer zone and headed towards the EU by using a student visa. The same are believed to later apply for asylum, Schengen.News reports.

Universities in the northern region attract and target students from other countries, using education as a front for smuggling them into Cyprus. The government’s complaint has prompted Enqa to carry out investigations starting with inquiries into the universities named by the asylum claimants.

Tension Arise Between Cyprus & the UN Following Stranded Asylum Seekers in Buffer Zone

The Cypriot government and the UN Nations have gone through a rocky relationship due to 31 asylum seekers being stranded in the so-called buffer zone, which indicates the land between the southern and northern regions of the country, which is mainly populated by nationals of Turkish origin.

The UN has accused Cyprus of violations of international law, while the Cypriot president, Chistodoulides insists that his country does not need outside assistance.

Earlier this month was reported that a group of 27 people had been stranded in the buffer zone. The migrants are believed to come from Afghanistan, Sudan, Cameroon and Iran and half of them are women and children.

While the Cypriot president offered humanitarian assistance to the stranded migrants, he refused to allow them entry to the country and that he was determined to not allow the Green Line, which describes the territory between the two parts of the island, to become “a new avenue for the passage of irregular migrants.”

Irregular Border Crossings Via Eastern Mediterranean Route Up by 103% in 2024

Frontex, the European Union Agency has revealed that the Eastern Mediterranean Route, which includes Cyprus among seven other countries, has experienced a 103 per cent increase in border crossings.

This means that this has been the most active migration route for the first five months of 2024 and that the number of people irregularly entering the EU via these countries has increased significantly, reaching a total of 21,773 compared to May 2023. Syrians, Afghanistanis and Egyptians are the top nationalities that have entered the EU via this route in 2024.