Just over 8,000 rejected asylum seekers received basic welfare benefits in Switzerland last year worth a total of CHF60 million ($60 million), the Swiss authorities have reported. This represents a 20% drop compared to 2016.
The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) reported on Tuesday that last year 8,022 rejected asylum seekers received emergency support in the form of accommodation, food, clothing or basic medical care worth CHF56.9 million – down 9% compared to 2016. A total of 785 people who filed multiple requests for asylum also received emergency support.
The overall number of people in this category is down by 18% compared to the previous year, the SEM said in a statementexternal link.
Of the rejected asylum seekers, 31% were from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Algeria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Four out of ten were aged 18-29 and 70% were male. Last year, 3,068 were considered long-term beneficiaries.
While the total number of people and the amount of welfare fell last year, the average time a rejected applicant received benefit increased from 122 days to 137.
A total of 18,088 migrants filed for asylum in Switzerland in 2017, a decline of 33.5%. It is the lowest number of applications since 2010.
According to the SEM, the decline in applications is largely due to two factors. First, a drop in migration along the central Mediterranean route from mid-July onwards. Second, fewer migrant arrivals from conflict zones like Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, which were quite significant at the beginning of 2016.