According to a report from France 24, education has become the leading economic sector in occupied Cyprus. The area is home to 23 universities that attract students from developing countries with affordable courses and a “European” stamp of approval. However, many students end up disappointed after falling victim to false promises made by recruiters and find themselves in desperate situations.

With nearly 50,000 foreign students, mainly from Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, education has become a lucrative business in occupied Cyprus, generating a third of GDP, surpassing even the tourism industry. Universities employ agents, often former students, who are paid a commission for each student they recruit. However, this system has led to problematic behavior, particularly among African agents.

Agents make misleading promises on social media, exaggerating opportunities for jobs, affordable housing, and scholarships. Students often discover the harsh reality upon arrival, facing limited options and difficulties accessing other European countries. The false promises have serious consequences as many students find themselves penniless, unable to afford tuition fees beyond the first semester. Some drop out of university, while others face legal consequences, as failing to pay fees jeopardizes their visa status and can lead to imprisonment and deportation to their home countries.

Some students opt to return home or cross to the southern part of Cyprus, which is part of the European Union. However, they often face disillusionment there as well. The majority are unaware that only a small fraction of asylum applications are accepted, with most facing rejection. Living conditions in camps are poor, and deportation rates are high, leaving many migrants in a precarious situation.

Overall, the article highlights the exploitative nature of the education sector in occupied Cyprus, where false promises and inadequate support leave many foreign students in dire circumstances, seeking alternatives or asylum in the Government controlled areas of the island.


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