The updated AIDA Country Report on Switzerland documents developments in the asylum procedure, reception conditions, detention and content of international protection throughout 2017.
Switzerland registered 18,088 asylum seekers last year, mainly originating from Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan. The overall recognition rate during that period was 76.7% and reached higher levels for nationals of Syria (96.4%) and Afghanistan (91.5%).
As part of the restructuring of the asylum procedure which will enter into force in 2019, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has confirmed the implementation of another pilot phase of the accelerated procedure in the federal centres of Boudry (canton of Neuchâtel) and Chevrilles (canton of Fribourg), both located in the French-speaking part of the country. This new pilot project, based on the accelerated procedure already applied in Zurich, will start in April 2018.
In October 2017, the Federal Court ordered the Federal Administrative Court (the only asylum appeal body) to waive the requirement of an advance payment for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in appeal procedures. According to the Court, the present practice of the Federal Administrative Court in requiring an advance payment in such situations constitutes a measure that disproportionately restricts access to justice for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
Significant judicial developments have also taken place in the context of the Dublin procedure. In a case concerning an Afghan family, the Federal Court ruled that the order of administrative detention pronounced by the canton of Zoug against parents whose three young children were simultaneously subject to a placement in a foster care, constituted a violation of the right to family life. In its judgment of 28 April 2017, the Federal Court recalled that such a measure is only admissible as an ultima ratio and after a thorough examination of other less coercive measures.
The ruling is particularly important given Switzerland’s firm position on the rigorous application of the Dublin Regulation. Switzerland issued 8,370 outgoing Dublin requests – “take charge” requests almost exclusively based on the documentation and entry criteria and “take back” requests – and implemented 2,297 transfers. The majority of procedures and transfers concerned Italy, followed by Germany and France.
Read the full country report here.