The Anastasiades government left the new interior ministry with 21,565 pending applications for political asylum, it was reported on Sunday.

According to daily Politis, from November 2, 2018 until January 22 more than 41,283 people passed through the Pournara reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia.

Of these, 32,889 were men and 8,394 were women. A total of 36,696 were adults.

The top ten countries of origin of the migrants that passed through Pournara are: Syria (12,159), Nigeria (5,739), Congo (5,129), Pakistan (3,853), Cameroon (3,136), Bangladesh (2,466), Somalia (2,080), Afghanistan (2,002), Sierra Leone (903) and Guinea (546).

However an improvement was seen in terms of returning those who do not qualify for asylum, with 7,500 migrants sent home in 2022, most of them voluntary, compared to 2,320 in 2021.

This increase in returns was achieved, according to the ministry, with the conclusion of agreements with countries of origin, as well as due to the assistance of EU and Frontex.

The increase was also some way attributed to financial incentives offered by the ministry to those willing to return. This amounts to €750.

The country that accounts for the highest proportion of returns is India at 28 per cent, followed by Nigeria and Pakistan with 8.8 per cent and 8.o per cent respectively.

On Thursday, new Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou called on the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council to promote without delay a specific action plan for the Eastern Mediterranean along the lines of the plans for migration management in the Central Mediterranean and the Western Balkans.

The previous government had sought to stem the flow of migrants passing through the green line by installing an electronic monitoring along it, erecting a barbed wire fence in narrow areas and employing 300 armed guards to monitor it.