Tighter visa rules to tackle ris­ing crime

Cyprus Today - - NEWS -

TIGHTER con­trols aimed at tack­ling ris­ing crime have re­sulted in more than 2,500 peo­ple be­ing de­nied en­try to the TRNC since Jan­uary, In­te­rior Min­is­ter Ayşegül Bay­bars Kadri has dis­closed.

The coun­try’s “ris­ing and chang­ing” pop­u­la­tion is see­ing an in­crease in crime and more rig­or­ous screen­ing of peo­ple want­ing to en­ter is one way that the prob­lem is be­ing tack­led, said Mrs Kadri, who added that other mea­sures in­clude a new se­cu­rity cam­era net­work which will be in­stalled first in Le­fkoşa and Girne be­fore be­ing rolled out to other areas at a later date.

Re­fer­ring to peo­ple ar­riv­ing at TRNC ports of en­try as tourists, she said im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers were rou­tinely ques­tion­ing them about the planned du­ra­tion of their stay to es­tab­lish if they could sub­sist on money they had with them or on their de­clared in­come. TRNC of­fi­cials were also in talks with their Turk­ish coun­ter­parts about the use of pass­ports or ID cards with chips by those ar­riv­ing from that coun­try, she said.

Min­istry un­der­sec­re­tary Ömer Köseoğlu con­firmed to Cyprus To­day the Im­mi­gra­tion Of­fi­cers were “stu­diously” and more “care­fully” as­sess­ing the process be­fore is­su­ing en­try stamps in pass­ports.

Only vis­i­tors from two coun­tries, Ar­me­nia and some parts of Nige­ria, are re­quired to ap­ply for a visa in ad­vance of their ar­rival. Speak­ing to Cyprus To­day, Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment head Emre Hacı con­firmed that im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers were ask­ing ar­rivals from other coun­tries a se­ries of ques­tions.

“The of­fi­cers have the au­thor­ity un­der the law not to grant a tourist en­try if an­swers or in­for­ma­tion sup­plied is not sat­is­fac­tory,” said Mr Hacı. Ques­tions in­clude ask­ing for con­fir­ma­tion of the per­son’s coun­try of ori­gin, fi­nan­cial state, ac­com­mo­da­tion ar­range­ments and the pur­pose of their visit,” he said.

“A tourist can be al­lowed a max­i­mum 90-day or min­i­mum one-day stay, de­pend­ing on the assess­ment of the im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer. Any tourist who faces de­nial of en­try can ob­ject and will be in­vited into an in­ter­view room where the de­ci­sion can be dis­cussed and re­viewed. Peo­ple can also be pro­vided with lawyers or le­gal ad­vice.”

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