Cyprus is launching a multilingual SMS campaign to stop migrants from believing that the island nation is a gateway to the European Union.

Cypriot Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said the campaign is to counter wrong information propagated by people traffickers to would-be migrants.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Mr Nouris said that migrants and refugees are left trapped in Cyprus because it is not part of the Schengen area which has abolished borders to permit unrestricted travel.

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He said that most migrants arrive via the north of Cyprus occupied by Turkey and cross the UN-controlled buffer zone to head to his country.

Mr Nouris said that 3.8 per cent of people living in Cyprus are asylum seekers, while the number is under 1 per cent in EU member states like Greece, Italy, Spain and Malta.