The House of Representatives on Thursday passed legislation that allows the police force to hire 300 special constables who will be deployed to help stem migrant flows.

The special constables, to be hired on a contract basis, will be used for patrolling possible crossing points for irregular migrants, help with migrant checks, support the transportation of irregular migrants, guard migrant reception centres, and assist in deportation processes.

The law allows the Chief of Police, subject to the approval of the competent minister, to recruit officers on a contract basis.

The bill passed with 24 votes for – from Disy, Diko, Elam, Edek and Dipa – while the 12 Akel MPs present voted against.

An amendment introduced by Akel was defeated. The amendment provided that the special constables would be equipped with anti-riot gear but no firearms.

The constables’ main task will be to monitor the 180km-long buffer zone – known as the Green Line – through which the vast majority of irregular migrants cross into the south.

The cost of hiring the extra staff comes to approximately €10 million and will be covered by the EU.

According to recent statements by Interior Minister Nicos Nouris, during the first five months of the year alone, Cyprus has seen 11,000 new asylum applicants.