Number of asylum seekers in Switzerland drops to eight-year low

Empty beds: asylum centres in some cantons and communes are being closed due to the drop in requests. @ KEYSTONE / ALEXANDRA WEY

The number of asylum seekers in Switzerland is decreasing and has dropped to levels last seen eight years ago, precipitating the closure of cantonal and communal asylum centres.

This content was published on September 30, 2018 minutes
SDA-ATS/Keystone/NZZ am Sonntag/cl

According to a Sunday report in the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEMExternal link) estimates about 16,500 new asylum requests for the year 2018. That’s less than half of the total recorded in 2015, at the height of the migration crisis. That year, about 40,000 requests were filed.

The decline is also reflected in the number of asylum seekers that the Swiss government distributes each month to the cantons. In view of the slow-down, many cantons and communes are in the process of closing their asylum centres.

The SEM first reported in July that asylum requests had decreased 14.3% in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2017, in a trend in line with other European countries. However, the SEM warned that despite the decrease, “the evolution of the situation in conflict regions and on the migration routes remains uncertain”.

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