Health care for beneficiaries


Country Report: Health care for beneficiaries Last updated: 11/04/23


Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

In June 2019, a National Health System (GESY) took effect for the first time in Cyprus, introducing major differences in the provision of health care services, mainly introducing the concept of a General Practitioner (GP) as a focal point for referrals to all specialised doctors. A network of private practitioners, pharmacies, and diagnostic centres have been set-up in order for health services to be provided, including a number of private hospitals.

Beneficiaries of International Protection, unlike asylum seekers have access to the General Health System under the same conditions as nationals do. This entails access to a GP free of charge, whereas access to specialized or supportive medical care (specialised doctors, lab work, physiotherapy, psychologists etc.) requires contributions of €6-10 per visit. Medication may also require small contributions which is usually around €2-4.

Although the transition to the new health system was, not smooth due to various coordination challenges between the appointed relevant governmental departments, a lack of translated material in the language of beneficiaries and confusion among medical and hospital staff in regard to refugees’ rights to health care, the situation has been normalized. A major obstacle remains for BIPs before they receive their residence permit, which is challenging as such a period often exceeds 6 months. During this time, persons cannot access health services through GESY and are supposed to have access as asylum seekers, however they need to provide additional documentation showing that although they are BIPs they do not have access to GESY and in many cases this has led to delays or no access.[1]

BIPs have access to the schemes of the Department for Social Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, operating under the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, which asylum seekers do not have access to. These schemes include various types of allowances and access to care and technical means. Since May 2018, following a decision of the Council of Ministers, BIPs are granted access to the allowance scheme provided to HIV positive persons.[2]

BIPs are included in the National COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. Initially, access to vaccinations was offered via appointment on the online GESY portal only, which at times was challenging for beneficiaries due to language barriers and low digital skills. NGOs provided assistance in such cases. From September 2021 onwards, vaccinations are offered at walk-in centres where no appointment is needed.




[1] Politis, ‘She lost the twins due to paperwork and delay in the… registration’ available at

[2] Council of Ministers, Decision 908/2018 of 30 May 2018, available in Greek at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation