Asylum decisions to be made within 48 hours

Fewer than one per cent of asylum applicants from the Balkans are currently accepted by Switzerland Keystone

Asylum seekers from visa-exempt European countries should from today receive a decision on their application within 48 hours, according to Mario Gattiker, head of the Federal Migration Office.

This content was published on August 21, 2012 - 11:58 and agencies

Gattiker told the media in Basel on Tuesday that the migration office was reacting to the significant increase in asylum seekers from the Balkans, predominantly Roma from Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 2010, these countries have enjoyed visa-free status.

He said that in July alone, applications from Macedonia had increased 83 per cent on the previous month, and those from Serbia by 68 per cent.

That said, asylum seekers from these so-called “safe countries” have slim chances of getting in: in the first half of this year some 4,593 people applied for asylum. Twenty were accepted.

Measures introduced by the migration office to avoid these applications blocking the system include concentrating all decisions in the federal reception and processing centre in Basel, with a decision being taken within two days. This would count for all applications which do not require further clarification.

Further measures to make Switzerland less attractive include preliminary interviews with asylum seekers, cancelling repatriation aid and intensifying cooperation with the countries of origin.

In addition, asylum seekers who do not cooperate, refuse to leave or make multiple unjustified applications will be barred from entering Switzerland. What’s more, the ban covers the entire Schengen Area and lasts five years.

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