In 2017, the Swiss state carried out a total of 64 specially-chartered flights to send back 287 foreigners and asylum seekers without adequate residency permits. The figures remain stable compared to the previous year.
The figures were sourced by the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper from the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), the body responsible for administering asylum policy.
Of the flights, the newspaper says, 17 were carried out in collaboration with other member states of the European Union. The total cost of operations came to CHF3.7 million ($3.8 million).
The numbers are similar to those of 2016, when 67 special flights were used to expel 345 asylum seekers. The previous year was less, 45 for 228.
Switzerland maintains an asylum regime with a strict reputation, accepting much fewer claimants than the most open European countries such as Germany and Sweden.
Along with the rest of the EU, Switzerland is party to the Dublin accords, under the terms of which countries can deport rejected asylum seekers, but must send them back to the European country from which they originally crossed the border.
The numbers of claimants have been declining in recent years. While 40,000 applications were made in Switzerland in 2015, this figure dropped to 27,000. Last year’s numbers are not yet fully available, but Swiss public television, RTS, estimates them somewhere between 18,000 and 19,000.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/dos