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Asylum seekers win temporary reprieve

Just over 4,000 asylum seekers have so far been granted temporary resident status under a humanitarian programme run by the government.

An estimated 13,000 people, mainly from Sri Lanka and Kosovo, are eligible for the Humanitarian Action 2000 project.

The federal refugee authorities on Friday announced that they had processed 4,221 applications in the past three months. In 96 per cent of cases, applicants were given the thumbs up. But 173 people did not fulfil the criteria and were ordered to leave the country.

In March the government decided that people who applied for asylum before 1993 and who don’t have a criminal record should be given residence status.

Brigitte Hauser of the Federal Refugee Office told swissinfo she expected nearly all applicants who meet the criteria to be allowed to remain in Switzerland. She said the office hoped to have concluded its work by the end of the year.

Under Swiss law it’s up to the cantons to grant the status, which protects beneficiaries from being expelled until further notice.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR