The Swiss Asylum Procedure: A Future Model for Europe?

In March, Switzerland will introduce a new asylum procedure. Dr. Constantin Hruschka analyses the changes.

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In the future, asylum procedures will only last 140 days

Nine years ago, an asylum procedure in Switzerland lasted an average of 1,400 days, from the submission of the application to the final regulation of residence or departure. Switzerland has been testing a new asylum procedure since 2014. This is to come into force nationwide on 1 March 2019 and a new procedure will significantly shorten the waiting period. The majority of final asylum decisions will then be made within 140 days.  

Streamline processes and acceleration of asylum procedures

The new procedure divides Switzerland into six asylum regions: Western Switzerland, Tessin and Central Switzerland, Eastern Switzerland, Northwest Switzerland and the cantons Bern and Zürich. Federal asylum centres were set up in each region, one of which has the “procedural function.” Also, further federal asylum centres (Bundesasylzentren) are envisaged with “waiting and departure function.” This will bring federal accommodation capacity up to 5,000 places across the country. The procedures follow clearly defined steps. During the test phase, more than half of the asylum decisions were taken within 140 days in dedicated federal asylum centres. 

The procedure is based on the Dutch model, adapted to Switzerland’s fe­deral context. However, room for improvement remains within the areas of appeal time limits, process coordination, quality assurance and independent legal representation.

 Q&A: Trending Issues on Migration

In his guest article for the FES “The Swiss Asylum Procedure. A Future Model for Europe?”, Dr. Constantin Hruschka, Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, explains the most important innovations and describes what other European countries can learn from the Swiss model.

ContactTimo Rinke, Head of Regional Project “Flight, Migration, Integration in Europe”, FES-Office in Budapest.

Hruschka, Constantin

The Swiss asylum procedure

A future model for Europe?
Budapest, 2019

Download publication (570 KB, PDF-File)

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