The updated AIDA Country Report on Switzerland documents the latest developments in policy and practice, as the country is preparing for transition to a large-scale restructuring of its asylum procedure of 1 March 2019.
Asylum procedure: In April 2018, as part of the restructuring of the asylum system, the state Secretariat for Migration (SEM) launched a second test phase of the accelerated procedure – following on from the first test phase in Zurich – in the federal centres of Boudry and Chevrilles, both located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The accelerated procedure itself is conducted in Boudry while the purpose of the centre of Chevrilles is to accommodate asylum seekers while they are waiting either for a decision or for their return to the Dublin State responsible or to their country of origin
The Federal Administrative Court confirmed the Swiss practice of determining age assessment by mostly relying on medical procedures such as wrist, collarbone and teeth X-rays even if such an approach is not entirely respondent to international best practices.
Reception conditions: The first specific centre for uncooperative asylum seekers opened its doors in Les Verrières, Canton of Neuchâtel on 3 December 2018. The SEM has indicated that only men would be placed in such centres. As it is still too early to learn from the experience currently underway in Les Verrières, it will be necessary to carefully examine whether adequate access to legal assistance and adequate residence conditions are ensured in centres which are geographically isolated.6
Content of international protection: In 2018, SEM launched a project to review the temporary admission of 3,400 Eritrean nationals. This project follows a significant tightening of the practice of both SEM and Federal Administrative Court with regard to asylum applications submitted by Eritreans.
In 2018, several measures were adopted to facilitate access to professional activity for persons benefiting of a temporary admission. Thus, the special charge of 10% of the salary (up to CHF 15,000 / 13,000 €, additional to the regular taxes) that had to be paid by temporarily admitted foreigners was abolished. In addition, the requirement of authorisation for employment has been replaced by a simple reporting obligation.
*This information was first published by AIDA, managed by ECRE.