Types of accommodation


Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 11/04/23


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The following types of accommodation are available for asylum seekers in Cyprus:

  • First Reception Centre, Pournara at Kokkinotrimithia – The reception centre located in Kokkinothrimithia, on the outskirts of Nicosia, was originally established in 2014 as a tented facility with a 350-person capacity with EU funding to help deal with increased arrivals from Syria and was envisaged only to provide 72-hour emergency accommodation to newly arrived asylum-seekers. From 2020 onwards, asylum seekers that have arrived in the country in an irregular manner are referred to Pournara. The services provided in the Centre include identification, registration, and lodging of asylum applications as well as medical screenings and vulnerability assessments. The duration of stay is approximately 40-60 days for adults whereas for UASC it is longer and on average 3 months. During their stay in the Centre asylum seekers are not permitted to exit.
  • Kofinou Reception Centre for Applicants of International Protection – The main Reception Centre, located in the village of Kofinou some 40km from Nicosia, was expanded in 2014 to have a 400-bed capacity. The Centre has been operating at its maximum capacity since January 2016. Kofinou Reception Centre is the only Centre that provides accommodation for the entire duration of the asylum procedures, which permits freedom of movement. In 2022 the Centre construction was carried out with the aim to expand capacity and the new areas are expected to become available in early 2023.
  • Community – Private accommodation – The main form of accommodation used by asylum seekers is private accommodation secured independently, in all areas of Cyprus. There are no standards or conditions regulated for rented accommodation in Cyprus. Therefore, asylum seekers living in private accommodation may often be living in appalling conditions.[1] Asylum seekers are expected to find accommodation on their own and there are no services available to refer persons to suitable accommodation or assist persons to identify and secure accommodation, including vulnerable persons and families with children, with the exception of an extremely few cases where the SWS assist. Indicatively at the end of 2022 there were over 35,000 asylum seekers in the country whereas the total capacity of Centres is under 3000.
  • Accommodation for UASC – There are a number of accommodation arrangements for UASC, operated by a number of stakeholders. Specifically, UASC between 14 -18 are accommodated in shelters. There are a total of 4 shelters across the RoC, two of which are operated by the NGO “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center and the remaining two by the SWS. The shelters are located in the urban areas of Nicosia, Larnaca and Limassol district. Conditions and services offered vary among the shelters.

UASC between the ages of 16-18 can be placed in one of the existing semi-independent living arrangements offered by a number of stakeholders. There are a number of semi-independent living arrangements across the island, operated by SWS, “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center, IOM, CODECA.  The semi-independent living arrangements of all stakeholders except SWS refer to building units located in most areas of the RoC, urban and rural, where the children live autonomously with minimal supervision by staff of the organisation The UASC placed under the semi-independent living arrangement run by SWS are paired with an adult that can be considered the contact point of the SWS for the UASC and can offer care to the UASC.

Children under the age of 14 can be placed in foster care, usually with a family member of the extended family. The child lives with the relative who is considered the foster parent and is expected to provide day to day care to the UASC. The housing conditions vary depending on the living arrangement of the foster parent, though there is an assessment of the living conditions of the foster parent and approval is   conditional to criteria set by the SWS.

  • Reception/Pre-removal Centre at Limnes – The Centre is in a remote area, at Limnes, in the Larnaca district, with the purpose to host applicants whose application for asylum is examined under the accelerated process and enter the return procedure, with intended capacity 800 persons. It was also announced that a predeparture centre for refused asylum applicants would be established next to the reception centre to facilitate their returns. The Centre began operation at the end of 2021 with small groups of refused asylum applicants being transferred to Limnes from Pournara camp. All persons, mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, had been issued with negative asylum decisions and a decision determining their place of residence as Limnes, with a provision that should they decide to leave Limnes they would have no access to welfare assistance. The trend has been for persons to voluntarily leave the centre and waive entitlements to welfare.[2]




[1] Based on reports from asylum seekers to Cyprus Refugee Council social advisors and home visits carried out by the advisors.

[2] UNHCR, Cyprus- Reception Capacity, available at https://bit.ly/2nfRnab.

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