The federal government now considers Burkina Faso, Kosovo and Serbia as "safe countries," meaning the rules for seeking asylum from those nations will change.
The announcement on Thursday adds the three once-troubled countries to a list that now includes Albania, Bosnia and Mali, among others. There are now 16 countries outside the European Union and the European Free Trade Association on the list.
In general, Switzerland does not consider granting asylum to applicants fleeing countries placed on the safe list unless they can provide concrete proof of being persecuted there.
The Federal Migrations Office updates the list at least one a year. If the situation in a safe country suddenly turns dire, authorities can immediately pull the country from the list and begin to consider asylum requests.
Countries are judged to be safe based on human rights and the application of international conventions. Refugees also suggest steps a country needs to take to be considered safe.