There were around 71,797 Third Country Nationals (TNCs) legally residing in Cyprus on January 1, 2018, representing 7% of the total population, according to figures published on the European Commission’s website on integration. EU nationals make up 12% and Cypriots the remaining 81%.
Of the 71,797 Third Country Nationals, 88% of them had valid temporary resident permits and 12% had long-term residency. Employment (45%), family reunification (13%) and international protection 11% are the most represented purpose of stay, as revealed by data published on July 31, 2016.
According to the latest population census of 2011, the three most represented countries of origin of the third country nationals residing in Cyprus are Philippines, Russia and Sri-Lanka.
There are no statistics available on the overall stock of TCNs who have acquired Cypriot citizenship but authorities have communicated that 3300 were naturalised between 2009 and 2015, the site adds.
Cyprus became an immigration destination in the mid-1980s, as a result of economic growth and the subsequent demand for a foreign labour force. Most integration programmes and projects implemented since then for the integration of migrants have been ad hoc, co-financed by EU funds and run by civil society organisations or local authorities.
There is no mandatory and generalised integration programme in Cyprus. However, several projects aiming to promote the integration of TCNs have been implemented in the country since 2007 to provide (free) Greek language classes or civic education to young and adult TCNs, as well as to integration awareness trainings to employers, teachers, journalists, public officials, etc.
In addition to these projects, four Migrant Information Centres (MICs) permanently operate across the country. They serve as one stop-shops for services to TCNs and applicants or beneficiaries of international protection.
They provide guidance and advice on housing, access to health, education services, administrative support, translation and interpretation services, etc. The website MiHub, as well as InfoBuses are also available to TCNs who do not have easy access to the 4 MICs.
Cypriot integration projects include:
- language course
- civic education
- vocational training