Asylum situation in Switzerland

 

In 2023, there was a total of 30 223 asylum requests in Switzerland, an increase of 23 % compared to 2022. The leading nationalities seeking asylum were Afghans, with 7934 requests, followed by Turks, with 6822 requests. Eritrea came in third position (SEM, Statistique en matière d’asile 2023-2024, 15th February 2024, Berne).

 

Overview for 2023

The Federal Council adapted Switzerland’s asylum practices in late 2023 in favor of Afghan women who hold a temporary F status  and  aren’t able to return to their country to live a secure life due to the Taliban occupancy.  This resulted in an increase in asylum requests coming from Afghanistan.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Turkey has witnessed a rise in the number of migrants seeking passage to Germany and France. As a result, the Turkish government hardened their policies towards migrants, making it more difficult for them to settle in the country.

In 2023, 13’100 Syrian asylum seekers were recorded to have crossed Turkey and Greece, in comparison to 6’200 Palestinian migrants. Most migrants aimed to travel to Germany.

In 2023, the SEM (Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations) examined 26’667 asylum requests and granted asylum to only 5’991 people, granting provisionary admission to 7380 people. The Dublin agreement allowed Switzerland to transfer about 2’000 migrants to other European countries (SEM, Statistique en matière d’asile 2023-2024, 15th February 2024, Berne).

 

Ukraine

Despite Ukrainians being granted the S status over the last 2 years without having to go through an asylum procedure, more than 15‘000 Ukrainians decided to return to their home country in 2023, resulting in 5’015 individuals returning their S permit (SEM, Statistique en matière d’asile 2023-2024, 15th February 2024, Berne).

The Federal Council has decided to keep the S permit status in place until March 2025, unless the war ends before  (SEM, Statistique en matière d’asile 2023-2024, 15th February 2024, Berne).

To apply for the S status upon arrival in Switzerland, the SEM set up an online registration tool to allow a faster response: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/fr/home/asyl/ukraine/registerme.html

 

Procedures

Applying for asylum in Switzerland requires an in-person registration at the Swiss border control or at the airport upon arrival. The asylum seeker can also register directly with one of the Swiss federal asylum centers managed by the SEM, such as Boudry in Neuchâtel. The applicant must be able to prove their identity to the Swiss authorities and justify why they had to leave the situation in their home country. The assessment of their application should not take more than 140 days.

If the applicant does not meet the conditions to be granted asylum, but cannot be sent back to their country of origin, the F temporary status is granted for 1 year. Every year, the SEM reviews the possibilities for the applicant to reintegrate their country of origin. After having benefited from an F status for 5 years, the applicant can apply for a B permit provided they can prove good integration in Switzerland under the conditions stated in art. 58a LEI.

It is no longer possible to apply for asylum from abroad. Indeed, the applicant must travel to Switzerland to be able to register in person. However, a humanitarian visa can be delivered through the Swiss consulate of their country of origin if the applicant's life is threatened. However, in countries experiencing war or chaotic political situations, the Swiss consulate is not always accessible.

 

Palestine

The Swiss Federal Council set up a task force to monitor the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and in Israel. The representative office of Switzerland is located in Ramallah. Visa enquiries can be sent to: ramallah.visa@eda.admin.ch.

If you are facing a life-threatening situation in your home country and do not have the possibility to travel to Switzerland to seek asylum, you can contact the Swiss representation in your home country to see whether or not you meet the requirements for a humanitarian visa. The majority of asylum permits are granted by applying in person through one of the federal asylum centers in Switzerland or at the borders.

14/03/24 - Alexa Mossaz, immigration specialist

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    This website aims to provide general information regarding Swiss law and should not be regarded as a legal opinion. For more specific advice, do not hesitate to contact us.