To reduce the pressure on an overloaded asylum system Switzerland has started a pilot system to processes certain asylum requests within 24 hours, reported RTS.
The fast-track asylum process will be tested on groups of asylum seekers with low rates of success, in particular those arriving from the North African nations of Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. According to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) less than 2% of asylum applications made by citizens of these nations are accepted. If these low probability applications could be dealt with quickly then there would be fewer people held in suspense in the system reducing the pressure on accommodation.
Some cantons have been stretched to the limit and are resorting to housing refugees in underground bunkers. This has been happening in Bern, Basel and Aargau. Converted containers have also been used as a solution.
Finding accommodation is difficult in Switzerland. It has the tightest housing market in Europe, excluding Iceland. On 1 June 2023, only 1.15% of homes were empty across Switzerland, according to data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). In many cantons and cities the rate is well below 1%.
The new asylum process is aimed ultimately at reducing the number of asylum requests. The objective of this measure is to send a signal to a group of people that generally does not need protection. This would free up space for those who do, said SEM.
However, it will remain possible to appeal fast-track decisions and deportation will not automatically occur after 24 hours.
The pilot project was launched on 13 November 2023 and will run until the end of February 2024.
In 2012, 48-hour processing was introduced for asylum seekers from certain countries. This was then extended to those from other nations. Since Switzerland’s asylum system was overhauled in 2019, most requests have been processed using rapid procedures. This means asylum seekers arriving in Switzerland now spend a maximum of 140 days in a federal asylum centre.
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