The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) withdrew the refugee status of 231 persons in 2017, an increase of 37.2% compared to the year before.
On Saturday, an SEM spokesperson confirmed the figures published by Schweiz am Wochenende. The refugees concerned had visited their country of origin despite claiming they were at risk there. Vietnamese nationals (71 individuals) accounted for the largest group of withdrawals, followed by Iraqis (60) and citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina (30).
The increase by 86 cases was attributed to the creation of the “return home” task force in 2015, as well as better collaboration with cantonal migration officials. More efficient analysis of passenger data by customs also helped to effectively identify refugees returning from visits to their country of origin.
Burden of proof
At the beginning of March, the Federal Council had proposed to strengthen the application of the ban on refugees travelling to their country of origin. The rule that already exists will be enshrined in law and the burden of proof will be reversed.
The law will assume that refugees who visit their country of origin have voluntarily placed themselves under the protection of that country. Such persons will have to prove that this is not the case when the procedure to withdraw their refugee status is initiated. Parliament has yet to approve the law.