Currently there is 1 reception centre, at the area of Kofinou in Larnaca District, with a maximum capacity of approximately 400 people (depending on the composition of the residents). The reception centre is located in a remote area (around 25km from the nearest city, Larnaca), with absolutely nothing around it except dry fields and sparse trees. It is near a village with a population of approximately 1,300 people. There are bus routes connecting the reception centre with the cities either directly in the case of Larnaca or through regional bus stations from where another bus can be used to reach other destinations.
Most asylum seekers reside in private houses/flats, which they are expected to find on their own.
Welfare Services first exhaust the possibility of placing asylum seekers in the reception centre upon their application for assistance. If the referral is impossible, usually due to lack of available space, the Welfare Services bear the responsibility of processing applications and addressing asylum seekers’ needs, including the allocation of an allowance to cover housing expenses. The asylum seeker is expected to find accommodation and provide all necessary documentation. Although this documentation is included in the Notification which is no longer in force due to the recent amendment of the Refugee Law, it is still used in practice.
Families, single women and traumatised people are placed in the reception centre under the same conditions applicable to all other residents. However, single men and single women are placed in different rooms in distinct sections, while families do not share their living space with others.
Regarding the referral criteria of asylum seekers to the reception centre, the Asylum Service recently announced that families with strong ties to the community will be excluded from the obligation to receive material support in the reception centre. This is yet to be monitored. Currently, if an asylum seeker refuses a referral to the reception centre, regardless the reason (even medical), Asylum Service and Welfare Services will exclude him or her from any future assistance.