More than 50,000 people have fled to Switzerland since the start of the war in Ukraine. Protection status S should now be checked by external experts.
The basics in brief
- More than 50,000 people fled Ukraine for Switzerland.
- So far, the federal government has come up with a positive conclusion when it comes to accepting people.
- Now an external expert team is supposed to check the protection status of S.
About three months after the start of the war in Ukraine, the federal government and the cantons came to a positive conclusion from the reception of refugees. However, many questions remained unanswered. So outside experts should take a closer look at the protection status S. The cost of taking in people who have fled Ukraine is currently around 1.2 billion Swiss francs.
It can be assumed that up to 10,000 people will continue to seek protection each month. Federal Councilor Karin Keeler-Sutter told the media in Berne on Friday that this was because there was no end in sight to the war.
The search for housing continues
In less than three months, more than 50,000 people from Ukraine have sought protection in Switzerland. This is three times the number of refugees in one year. At peak times it was 1,800 per day, and the average is currently around 400. And on Friday there were 225, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) tweeted.
In addition, about 1,500 asylum seekers per month come from other countries. The head of the Department of Justice and the Federal Police (FDJP) said the search for housing must continue. In general, the situation is under control, even if it is a lot of new territory.
In addition to finding accommodation, preventing the abuse of the Protective X status remains a problem. For example, if a refugee returns to Ukraine and continues to receive social assistance. Or if they have already obtained protection status in another country. Keller Sutter said short trips of up to 15 days every three or six months would probably be possible.
By the end of the year, an assessment group of operationally inactive external experts should prepare a report on the State of Protection S. This was implemented in Switzerland for the first time since 12 March.
Abuse must be prevented
A European registration platform is also being created, in which Switzerland will participate. This is to prevent abuse by someone trying to obtain protected status in several countries. In some cases, protection S status has been denied due to fraudulent ID cards. In order to preserve the solidarity of the Swiss people, one must prevent abuses, Keller-Sutter said.
According to the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, the costs of receiving refugees are currently around 1.2 billion Swiss francs. How the costs will continue depends on how the situation in Ukraine develops.
Expenses are not part of the budget, but an unusual item. They refer to the approximately 50,000 people admitted since the start of the war. It included costs paid by the federal government to the cantons. It’s an estimate, Keller Sutter said.
Long-term reception of refugees
Nathalie Bartholot is President of the Conference of Social Managers Cantonal (SODK). In the second stage, she said, one had to consider accepting refugees for a longer period of time. Children and youth must go to school, adults must be integrated into working life and social inclusion must be possible for all. But there are also people with PTSD or with illnesses and disabilities who need special care.
So far, Bartholott said, the cantons have managed to overcome the challenges. But of course things didn’t always go so well. When people were housed in private housing, organizational and coordinating efforts were somewhat underestimated.
The distribution switch has also been in use for about three weeks. This allows the refugees to be better distributed among the cantons. Not only in the cities or cantons of Zurich, Aargau and Ticino, where the diaspora from Ukraine mainly lives.