Resident Brits must pay for quarantine
By KEREM HASAN / Chief Reporter
Resident foreign nationals who are stranded abroad will be allowed to come “ home” to the TRNC – but will be undergo a 14-day quarantine period which they must pay for, Prime Minister Ersin Tatar told Cyprus Today last night.
Mr Tatar spoke as a Council of Ministers meeting was continuing to discuss repatriation procedures for expats and foreign nationals. He said there was a broad agreement that expats who owned properties in the TRNC and who were residents, should be allowed to come back soon.
It follows an outcry from expat organisations who have hundreds of TRNC residents stuck abroad – particularly the UK.
Mr Tatar said: “TRNC-based expats and third country nationals who own property here and who are residents will be repatriated. However they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, which they will be requested to pay for.”
Asked as to whether they would require an additional Covid-19 negative medical certificate, Mr Tatar said: “Although discussions on this are continuing, there is a broad agreement that having the quarantine system followed by a Covid-19 test in the TRNC will be more efficient and accurate.”
Mr Tatar and deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Kudret Özersay on Thursday met British Residents’ Society chairman Peter Wilkins and deputy chairman, Mike Diplock .
Mr Wilkins said: “A charter flight for June 27 or 28 has been stated as a possibility to repatriate about 150 stranded expats who are TRNC residents who, out of no fault of their own, were unable to return to the country.
“There are 115 with residency, and 28 who have applied for residency. There are also people who own properties in North Cyprus who want to be at their home. However, there has been a distinction made as to what constitutes a ‘home’. . .they do not wish to include swallows and those regarded as tourists who, although may own property in the TRNC, have their ‘homes’ in the UK or other countries. This is an ongoing discussion.
“The Government does not see swallows who own properties as being a TRNC resident. For the time being, the government only want to allow non TRNC nationals who live in the TRNC permanently, to be allowed to return.
“We as the BRS have not distinguished between residencies and those who own properties but whose homes are not here.”
Explaining that a questionnaire had been given to BRS and The Foreign Residents (TFR) members asking their country of residency, he said this was being used for those who had applied via the BRS and TFR.
“We have supported the Government’s measures that have brought about success in addressing the Covid-19 outbreak. Now is the time to help those stranded to return home. This is a humane matter,” he said.
He also said that in their meeting with Immigration head, Emre Hacı, they had been told that the “online system” for residency applications – which had been launched by Interior Minister Ayşegül Baybars but which caused lots of complaints last November after the web site kept crashing – was being completely revamped and would be up and running by middle of June.
Cyprus Paradise owner, Muhammet Yaşarata said they also had 120 British national TRNC residents who had applied for repatriation.
On Thursday, public works and transportation minister, Tolga Atakan, responding to a request by Association of Turkish Cypriots Abroad coordinator Hatice Salih Kerimgil. She stated the “unfairness” of allowing non-resident, TRNC nationals to visit North Cyprus, whilst non-TRNC nationals who had residencies were put on the “last phase” of a three-step phase in being allowed to come to the country.
Mr Atakan said they were working to “ensure that there were very little gaps between the phases”. He also confirmed that there would be a “quarantine period” for people coming into the country and “asked for patience” to be shown “because of the unprecedented times requiring unprecedented decisions”.