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Huge hike in refugees stretches Swiss resources

Beds at a Swiss asylum centre.
Some 9,500 extra beds have been provided at Swiss refugee centres this year. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Switzerland is expecting nearly 50% more asylum applications this year compared to 2021, prompting the erection of new accommodation centres and the support of the army.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) on Thursday said it expected to receive 22,000 refugees by the end of the year, which is 7,000 more than 2021.

In September, Switzerland saw 2,681 asylum applications, marking the largest monthly influx since 2016. On top of this number, some 2,700 Ukrainians applied for special protection S permits.

The estimate of refugee numbers has increased significantly since a forecast earlier this month of 19,000 asylum applications and 85,000 Ukrainians on S permits.

“In order to offer all those seeking asylum and protection a bed and a roof over their heads, the federal government and the cantons are working flat out to provide additional accommodation,” said SEM.

Some 9,500 extra beds have been provided so far this year. The authorities have also speeded up the asylum procedure to process 1,800 per month, up from 1,300 in the spring.

Police, customs officials and the army have been drafted in to support the urgent need to find more room.

Should the number of new arrivals continue to exceed 2,500 per month, migration officials would have to call on cantons to find extra space, said SEM.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR