Switzerland Follows Germany’s Example in Tightening its Asylum Policy

Beat Jans, Swiss Federal Asylum Minister, announced working to implement asylum procedures 24 hours a day in all asylum centers across Switzerland, in order to complete the asylum procedures as quickly as possible without the possibility of being accepted for asylum. He also announced the implementation of all procedural steps within a short period.

The new policy sparked widespread controversy in Switzerland. Many politicians criticized the process of accelerating procedures, describing it as a marketing gimmick.

Jans defends his policy that it has already led to a sharp decline in the number of asylum seekers from North Africa in reception centers.

There is a civil attack on the Minister of Asylum because of this policy. Politicians believe that the new measures are not actually implemented throughout the day, and that it is just a trick to make it appear as if the problems are solved within 24 hours, which is not true.

Federal Chancellor Jans and the State Secretariat for Migration defend the new policy that means starting all steps of the asylum procedure within 24 hours. However, the official statements do not include any information about making a decision on asylum applications within the specified time. In addition, as critics see, making a decision this quickly is not possible at all. According to Swiss asylum law, the period for appealing the decisions of the Immigration Department alone is up to seven days.

The State Secretariat for Migration issued a statement, regarding completing the registration of data of asylum seekers, data recording, comparison of fingerprints with the European database and the hearing on the grounds for asylum within one day. The statement mention that this in particular, will apply to asylum applications whose chances of being accepted are weak, such as those coming from North African countries.

According to figures from the State Secretariat for Migration, the number of asylum seekers coming to Zurich from Morocco, Tunisia and Libya residing in the federal asylum center decreased by 62%, and the percentage of decline in Switzerland reached 40%. The percentage relates to the number of people in reception centers and not to the number of applications submitted.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration, the aim of speeding up the procedures is to ensure that asylum seekers do not create pressure on asylum accommodation.

The acceptance rate for asylum seekers from North African countries has decreased to only 1%. Since last November, no asylum application has been approved for the 413 people coming from North Africa. In addition, no measures were taken regarding 102 cases, 185 cases were canceled and 31 applications were rejected.

Damian Mueller, a member of the Council of States from the Free Democratic Party, criticizes the new measures in asylum policy, describing them as merely cosmetic, as the Immigration Secretariat does not make sufficient efforts to organize forced repatriation. He also mentioned that the option of forced deportation was a basic proposal from the Federal Council three years ago, however, it was not sufficiently activated, and as for Janssen, he believed that the quick measures were a very clear message to people coming from the countries concerned that they could not stay in Switzerland.

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