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No status Fewer rejected asylum seekers receive aid

Swiss army tents provided temporary shelter for asylum seekers in the Swiss canton of Aargau last year


Swiss authorities doled out as much as CHF70.3 million ($72 million) in emergency shelter, food, clothes and basic medical care to asylum seekers last year – primarily to those with little hope of receiving official refugee status.

However, the 10,033 total beneficiaries still represented a 6% drop from 2014.
In Switzerland, asylum seekers can get papers only if they face persecution or imprisonment in their country of origin for reasons of race, religion or nationality, or because of their political views.

Most of those who arrive in Switzerland do not meet these criteria because authorities determine that they are migrants, or economic refugees. These rejected asylum seekers are known as “sans papiers” (without papers).

A new pilot centre in Zurich, which is helping to accelerate the approval process, has also had “positive effects on the emergency aid”, the State Secretariat for Migration reported on Thursday.

“Asylum seekers whose applications were considered under the accelerated procedures needed emergency help far less often and for shorter periods of time than those whose applications went through the ordinary procedure,” the agency said.

People applying for asylum from countries with fewer protections for their rights, particularly Algeria, Kosovo, Morocco, Nigeria, Serbia and Tunisia, asked for less emergency aid in 2015 than a year earlier, it said. Conversely, the amount of requested aid rose for Afghan, Ethiopian and Eritrean applicants.

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