Cyprus Mail

No changes yet to processing student visas

Attorney-general Costas Clerides

Despite an ongoing police probe into possible criminal offences relating to the granting of a number of student visas, visa applications by Bangladeshi nationals in general will continue to be processed as normal, the Attorney-general Costas Clerides has said.

The suspect visas – understood to be around 50 – were issued earlier this year.

The affair came to light earlier this month, when it emerged that Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides wrote to the attorney-general asking him to look into “possible criminal offences” by the interior ministry regarding the approval of visas to students from non-EU countries based on forged documentation.
The Cypriot honorary consulate in Dhaka, Bangladesh had reason to believe that the bank statements provided by several visa applicants were dodgy.

In addition, health certificates were in some cases signed off by the same Bangladeshi doctor, but bore different signatures; in other cases the dates were off.

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos, who had approved the visas, found himself in the spotlight, but insisted that his actions were above board.

The minister said he decided to have the visas in question approved, but took additional precautions, such as requiring the applicants (students) in question to pay their college fees upon arrival in Cyprus, as well as submit to a medical here within 48 hours.

The furore led to the attorney-general ordering an investigation. But at the same time Clerides made it clear that neither Hasikos nor the interior ministry were the subject of the probe.



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