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Extraordinary circumstances Migrant costs lead to CHF600 million budget deficit

Switzerland can expect 45,000 asylum applications this year


The Swiss government has revealed that it expects to face a shortfall of CHF600 million ($612.3 million) in 2017 largely due to more spending on asylum-seekers. It wants CHF400 million of migrant-related spending to be allocated in what it calls an “extraordinary budget”, given the rise in numbers. 

Switzerland received around 40,000 asylum applications in 2015, which is expected to rise to around 45,000 in 2016, according to a cabinet statement released on Wednesday. 

The last time there was such a spike in applications was during the Kosovo conflict in 1998-1999. The government estimates that the projected CHF900 million difference between spending on migrants in 2014 and expected spending in 2017 is sufficient grounds to invoke the use of the extraordinary budget. 

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During the first five to seven years, refugees and those provisionally accepted into the country remain the responsibility of the federal government who distribute funds to the cantons to look after them. The vast majority (70%) of federal spending on refugees and asylum-seekers is on providing financial support in the form of social aid.

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