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Refugee policies - Switzerland

#Switzerland presents itself as a difficult place to seek #asylum from abroad. It is impossible to apply for asylum if you are outside the country and it is only once you have arrived on Swiss soil that you can apply for asylum. While there is some confusion between the terms #refugee and #asylumseeker, for Switzerland an asylum seeker is not yet fixed on the recognition of his/her refugee status.

The fate of this person then depends on his or her #asylumapplication. Once the process is underway, all asylum seekers are assigned to a federal asylum center with processing facilities, run by the federal government in six different asylum regions.

In order to be granted asylum, the application must be approved by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) who examine each asylum application in a specific procedure with the aim of determining whether a person is in need of protection and can therefore stay in Switzerland. Switzerland offers protection and residence to persons who are at risk of persecution in their country of origin because of their ethical, national or religious affiliation, their membership of a particular social group or their political opinions, or simply because they cannot return there for other humanitarian reasons. It is then during the asylum procedure that these elements are examined according to the new asylum procedure that got accepted in March 2019. From then on, the procedures are faster and decentralized in federal asylum centres.

Asylum seeker will then face a dichotomic outcome: a positive decision, leading to a B permit or a negative decision, meaning that the person has to leave Switzerland.

The #Ukrainian issue has the potential to overturn a restrictive system that has seen little change in recent years, and the choice to guarantee S-protection status to all Ukrainians fleeing war should set an example and leave an opening to a wider scope of asylum seekers.

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