Latest data on asylum applications released by Eurostat on Thursday concerning May, show that numbers in Cyprus more than doubled over the same month in 2021, and May also saw more than 500 more applications than April this year.

There was a 17 per cent increase in the number of new asylum applications in the European Union in May 2022 compared to April 2022 and an 89 per cent increase compared to May 2021, according to Eurostat.

In absolute numbers, there were 63,105 new asylum applications in May 2022 compared to 54,145 in April 2022 and 33,385 last May.

In Cyprus, a total of 2,560 new applications were recorded for May compared to 2030 in April and 1,175 recorded May last year.

The biggest groups applying for asylum in Cyprus in May were individuals from Nigeria (460 individuals), Syria (420 individuals), Democratic Republic of Congo (390), Pakistan (265) and Afghanistan (240).

The five countries with the most applicants in Cyprus for April 2022 were again Nigeria, DR Congo, Syria, Pakistan and Cameroon, while in May 2021 they were mostly from Syria, Somalia, DR Congo, Pakistan and India.

According to Eurostat the increase on an EU level can be partially explained by the increase in asylum applications from Venezuelan nationals recording 3,655 applications in April and 4820 in May -that is a 32 per cent increase- and from Syrian nationals recording 6485 applications in April and 8025 in May, a 24 per cent increase.

Notably in March 2022 there was a strong increase in applications from Ukrainian nationals because of the Russian invasion leading to 12,885 new applications in March.

However, the numbers subsided to 1,510 in April and 1295 in May.

All in all, 13,855 new applications were submitted in Germany, followed by Spain recording 10,200 applications, France with 9,800, Italy 6,450 and Austria 5,645.

These five states make up 73 per cent of all new asylum applications in the EU for May.

Notably, of the new applications in May 2022, 2,635, were unaccompanied minors marking a whopping 97 per cent increase compared to May 2021 and a 17 per cent increase compared to April 2022.

On Thursday, police announced that the day before, a boat was intercepted carrying five men suspected of people-smuggling who were arrested and are currently being investigated over cases concerning, among other, assisting persons from third countries to illegally enter the Republic with the intent to make a profit, illegally entering the territory of the Republic and transporting persons through waterways using an unsafe vessel.

In addition, police authorities later intercepted another boat just off Cape Greco carrying 32 irregular migrants, all males, of whom seven were minors, according to CNA.

“Shortly before 7pm a second wooden boat was spotted off Cape Greco in which after investigation was found to be carrying 32,” according to Police spokesman Christos Andreou.

At approximately 1.30am the two boats sunk because of bad weather resulting to marine police collecting them and transferring them to safety.

According to Andreou, during police investigation a testimony against the five men emerged appearing to be involved in the crimes that are now being investigated.

They were subsequently arrested on the basis a judicial warrant and are expected to appear at Famagusta court on Friday.

The remaining individuals were transferred to the Pournara centre.