Types of accommodation


Country Report: Types of accommodation Last updated: 09/05/24


Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

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 in 2023 was approximately 30-40 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. Prepαrations to increase the capacity of the Centre were initiated in 2022 and the new areas are expected to become available during 2024.
  • 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 2023 there were approximately 25,000 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 country, two of which are operated by the NGO “Hope For Children” CRC Policy Center and 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 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.

In 2022 due to the increase in arrivals of UASC and lack of capacity to house them in the UASC shelters, hotels have been used as a temporary accommodation measure. The conditions in the hotels are not considered up to standard. The use of hotels continued in 2023.

Reception/Pre-removal Centre at Limnes – The Centre was built in a remote area, at Limnes, in Larnaca district, with the purpose to host applicants whose applications for asylum are examined under the accelerated process and enter the return procedure, with capacity 800 persons. It was also announced that a predeparture centre for rejected 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 rejected 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. In 2021, UNHCR noted that persons were voluntarily leaving the Centre and waive entitlements to welfare.[2] According to Cyprus Refugee Council, this trend continued throughout 2022 and 2023. In July 2023, the Centre was closed due to the sub-standard conditions and temporarily moved into a section in Kofinou Reception Centre. Limnes Centre is undergoing a complete re-structuring which is expected to be competed in 2 years.[3]

The cost of building reception facilities and performing subsequent infrastructure works and refurbishments is covered, for the most part or fully, by EU funds.[4]

In 2023, the EUAA provided Cyprus national reception authorities with 120 containers, including 76 for accommodation use and 44 to be used for other reception and asylum use.[5]



[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, 31 December 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/40jtGus.

[3] Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works, Announcement: Tender Announcement for the Construction of a “LIMNES” Hospitality Center for International Protection Applicants and a Pre-Departure Center for persons who will be repatriated to the Menogia area of Larnaca District, 26 January 2023, available in Greek at: http://bit.ly/3TZaArO; Cyprus Mail, EU and Cyprus close to an agreement for support on migration, 30 August 2023, available at: http://bit.ly/3JVBE6D.

[4] Economy Today, Δαπάνες πέραν των €100 εκατ. για Πουρνάρα και Λίμνες, 16 June 2022, available in Greek at: https://tinyurl.com/3mx2bjvu.

[5] Information provided by the EUAA, 26 February 2024.

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