A useful starting point for analysis of the situation as it stands before the introduction of the new policy is the overview provided for the purposes of the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), which locates Cyprus in a generally unfavourable integration position, which provides a point of departure and comparison across the EU: Cyprus is one of only five EU member states where the majority of non-nationals are from other EU countries, 5.7% of the total population is from outside the EU. Asylum seekers and international students make up a large part of the immigration flows. Legislative developments have been restricted to the delayed transposition of the EC Directives on family reunion and long-term residence, as well as some minor amendments to the laws transposing the two anti-discrimination Directives, in order to bring the transposing legislation in line with the equality acquis.
The study analyzes the areas in which Cyprus fares well in comparison to other EU countries and where it is “weak”: Anti-discrimination is the strongest of the six areas of integration policy measured by
MIPEX, although it is still a full 40 percentage points away from best practice. Political participation scores unfavourably, with several critically weak policy dimensions. Even with the transposition of the EC Directives on family reunion and long-term residence, Cyprus has the worst score on family reunion out of the 28 MIPEX countries, the second worst on long-term residence, and the fourth worst on labour market access.
All major studies on third country migrant workers in Cyprus point to the same conclusion: that they remain in “a vulnerable position,” in spite of the improvements to the institutional and legal framework, as recognized by the Third ECRI Report on Cyprus.