The online platform to make appointments at the immigration department has been taken down and new arrangements will be in place as of Monday, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Sunday.

The fact that unscrupulous agents were buying up appointment slots in bulk and then selling them individually for €200 was exposed by the Cyprus Mail on Sunday.

“The platform was closed because we were worried about this,” the minister said.

He said that the phenomenon of block-booking was first detected on March 10. “I don’t know about any amounts of money, but there was certainly abuse by agents who pre-booked a large number of appointments, so the public or other categories of people were not able to book appointments,” he said.

Ioannou said as of Monday this practice would be ended and other arrangements were being made for people to book appointments. As he explained, this will be done either through email, or specific days will be set for specific categories of applicants.

He also said that once or twice a month the public will be offered a means to learn about the progress of their application.