Thousands of European foreign nationals living in Cyprus and who require specific residence permits to register with the national health scheme (Gesy) are stuck in the wheels of an overloaded Civil and Migration Department.
It emerged on Tuesday that the issue which is effectively barring foreign nationals from the universal healthcare reform that launched on Saturday is far from being resolved due to a combination of understaffing at the Civil and Migration Department and a high number of applicants.
At the beginning of May, the health insurance organisation (HIO) issued an announcement informing holders of Cypriot identity cards who did not have Cypriot nationality that they had to either obtain the MEU1 or MEU3 ‘yellow slip’ from the Civil and Migration Department.
Applications must be accompanied by a number of documents including a valid passport or ID, a recent document detailing social insurance contributions, the name of the workplace and monthly earnings; and a letter of confirmation by the applicant’s employer.
Daily newspaper Politis said that the issue of the overloaded department has affected residents of all districts, with the process of evaluating applications for residence permits becoming increasingly clogged.
Paphos residents have been hit the hardest, the paper noted, with appointments for the submission of the necessary accompanying documents being scheduled in six months’ time, until when applicants are barred from using Gesy services as they are unable to register as beneficiaries.
The HIO could not be reached for comment.
In mid-May, the issue was already a concern for foreign nationals, some of whom cited a lack of cooperation between government departments and lack of timely information which led to delays, causing them to lose the opportunity to register with the GP they wanted since their lists close after reaching the maximum number of patients.