IOM in Cyprus

Cyprus became an IOM Member-State in May 1974 at a time when a lot of Cypriots were emigrating to Australia, Canada, South Africa, the US and other European countries. IOM started its activities in Cyprus much later when it was invited to set up an office locally.

IOM Cyprus operates on the basis of a Seat Agreement N.6(III)/ 2014 which was ratified in the House of Representatives on 13th June 2014. This Agreement defines the scope of IOM activities in the country which shall be to implement in the Republic of Cyprus migration programmes such as capacity building, advisory services and technical cooperation on migration issues, migration and health, international migration law, migration information, counter-trafficking, migration on nationals and aliens, assistance to internally and externally displaced persons and other persons in need, return of qualified human resources, other assisted return activities and resettlement programmes.

The IOM country office in Cyprus was inaugurated in November 2015 and is located in Nicosia. It falls under the purview of the IOM Regional Office for the European Economic Area, the European Union and NATO in Brussels, Belgium.

The IOM office in Cyprus works closely with the governmental authorities of Cyprus such as the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, UN and EU agencies and in collaboration with diverse partners within the civil society, local authorities and academia. Various projects include voluntary return and reintegration, relocation, resettlement and family reunification, integration, access to services and public awareness to counter the rise in xenophobia and discrimination.

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

IOM provides support to the government of Cyprus through the implementation of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, which assists third country nationals wishing to return to their country of origin. Assistance consists of information and counselling services, procuring travel documents, arranging safe travel, and providing reintegration support. Tailored assistance is provided to specific vulnerable groups, including migrants with health concerns, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors. The AVRR programme began its operation in Cyprus in February 2016 and it is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Republic of Cyprus.

Relocation, Resettlement and Family Reunification

IOM facilitates the resettlement and relocation of selected refugees to Cyprus. This happens in close cooperation with the IOM offices in countries of departure. IOM also provides assistance to family members entitled to reunite with their family in Cyprus by arranging the travel and serving as a contact point for the relatives or sponsors in Cyprus. The relocation programme, reception assistance began its operation in Cyprus in February 2016 and is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Governments of Italy and Greece. The resettlement programme has been to this date privately sponsored.

Integration, Access to services and public awareness to counter rise in xenophobia and discrimination

IOM Cyprus contributes to the integration of newly-arrived migrants and refugees by identifying third-country nationals’ health needs, with attention to vulnerable individuals, and facilitating the provision of health care, including of those who have been relocated in the Cyprus health system through the utilization of the electronic Personal Health Record (e-PHR) as universal EU tool for health assessment. Activities include capacity building of service providers, provision of essential supplies, consolidation and dissemination of the electronic health database to new implementing sites.The ReHealth2 began its operation in August 2017 and is co-funded by the Health Programme of the European Union and the IOM.

IOM Cyprus also engages in capacity-building and public awareness actions with the financial contribution of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus since the establishment of the office.