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Redistribution programme

First batch of asylum seekers from Italy arrive

A group of 10 asylum seekers from Italy has arrived in Switzerland under the European Union’s refugee relocation programme. They are part of a pilot group of 30 individuals of the 1,500 the country is willing to host. 

The relocation of the ten individuals under this pilot scheme began on May 6, it was confirmed on Friday. The nationalities of the asylum seekers have not been revealed, but in April a spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) shared that it would mostly be Eritreans and Syrians. They will go through the normal asylum procedures but have a high chance of getting their asylum request accepted. 

The group will be accepted as part as the European refugee relocation programme, agreed in September 2015, to which Switzerland has signed up as a voluntary participant. The country has said that it is prepared to take up to 1,500 refugees, on condition they are registered as asylum seekers in neighbouring Italy or in Greece. 

Overall, the EU wants to relocate 120,000 refugees among the bloc to ease the strains on frontline nations like Greece and Italy. But the principle of sharing refugees has been extremely divisive and opposed by several countries in central and eastern Europe. The deal therefore does not set mandatory quotas for each nation.

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