Country Report: Housing Last updated: 09/05/24


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There are no active schemes providing housing to BIPs, including persons who have recently arrived in the country. Persons need to secure private accommodation on their own. This is often a difficult task, due to language barriers and financial constraints, related to high levels of unemployment, high rent prices and the extent of assorted allowances. In 2023 securing private accommodation remained difficult for refugees who have recently been granted protection, as well as refugees living in the community. This is due to the extremely high rent prices that continued to increase over 2023,[1] making it harder to identify appropriate accommodation, as well as the reluctance on the landlords’ side to rent properties to refugees, even when they have a regular income. Although instances of homelessness are much more frequent among asylum seekers, BIPs also face this risk and assistance and guidance are required in order to secure shelter. The risk is higher for BIPs that lack community support in the country and vulnerable persons.

BIPs have a right to apply for financial aid through the national Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) scheme, which may include a rent allowance. However, in order to apply for the rent allowance a property must already have been contracted. In addition, rent deposits are not covered through the GMI scheme. Furthermore, throughout 2023 examination of GMI applications including the rental allowance continued to be very long, often reaching or passing 12 months; even in cases of vulnerable persons or homeless persons it is rare the application is examined faster. During the examination period, an emergency allowance is provided which varies from district to district and is extremely low, at about €100-150 for one person per month and approximately €150-280 for a family per month. The amount cannot be determined in advance and depends on the amount that is provided to the Welfare Office every month by the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance. Furthermore, the examination of the emergency application takes approximately one to two weeks and is subject to the approval of the supervisor of the welfare office. The application is valid only for one month and must be submitted every month, until the decision for the GMI is issued. The delays in examination of GMI applications have a serious negative impact on living standards and integration efforts and in some instances lead to homelessness.[2]

Regarding BIPs residing in the Reception Centre, there is no set time frame in which they must leave the Centre once they have received international protection, but persons are informed and urged by the Asylum Service to expedite their transition to the community. People are rarely evicted from the centre and in the case of BIPs efforts are made to support them to exit. However, to date there is still no official procedure for transition into the community. Obstacles faced by BIPs trying to exit Kofinou include finding accommodation in the community, especially in view of the high rent prices; delays with the issuance of residence permits; delays related to Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI); and delays to opening a bank account.

As a significant number of persons will not be able to secure employment immediately after receiving international protection, they will need to apply for financial aid through the national GMI scheme. Despite efforts to prioritise GMI applications for beneficiaries who are still residing in the Reception Centre, this has not been achieved. Furthermore, the GMI scheme does not provide amounts for housing, unless a specific property has already been identified and contracted.

As a result the is always a number of BIPs residing in Kofinou Reception Centre, indicating that transitioning out of the centre remains challenging.




[1] RICS, Cyprus Property Index 2022 Q4, available at: http://tinyurl.com/22ccw59r.

[2] Information provided by Cyprus Refugee Council.

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