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Federal Audit Positive report for refugee integration packages

An asylum seeker takes notes in his notebook during German lessons in a converted classroom

When it comes to supporting refugee integration in Switzerland, language education is one area of potential improvement, the Federal Audit Office found.

(© KEYSTONE / GAETAN BALLY)

The government’s integration packages for refugees in Switzerland are being used to good effect, according to a report by the Federal Audit Office. However, some support measures could be improved.

Switzerland invests more than CHF80 million ($80.1 million) annually in the integration of refugees. This spring, the federal government adopted a new plan with the cantons aimed at enabling refugees and asylum seekers to enter the workforce more quickly. The package amount should increase from CHF6,000 francs to CHF18,000. From next year, annual federal funds could go up to CHF210 million from the current CHF132 million.

The Federal Audit Office welcomed the implementation of the integration agenda, which it says confirms the need for the federal integration package. 

Currently, the overall integration offer is sufficient for most cases, but improvements are possible in areas such as measures to adapt disability insurance, and the recognition of diplomas.

More psychological and educational support

Above all, the report emphasises gaps in support for migrants suffering from psychological trauma, and the Office wrote in its report that integration measures adapted to these needs, either within or outside the scope of disability insurance, must be improved. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has agreed to take these concerns into account in collaboration with the Federal Social Insurance Office.

The organisation of intensive language courses for women with childcare responsibilities was also found to be lacking, and language learning in the workplace could also be better organised, the report said.

The Audit Office suggests that the SEM better define the integration package from other available sources of funding. It would also like to see the implementation of indicators to assess the situation and developments in each canton.

The audit focused on the cantons of Aargau and Fribourg, which the supervisory body considers to be representative. In each canton, about 30 individual cases were examined.

Keystone/SDA-ATS/cl

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