Swiss asylum requests expected to keep rising

A painting by children staying at the Pasture asylum centre in Balerna in southern Switzerland, October 2, 2020. Keystone / Francesca Agosta

The number of asylum requests in Switzerland this year is due to surpass the pre-Covid level, the authorities say. Further increases are expected in the coming years.

This content was published on July 15, 2021 minutes

Last year, asylum requests fell by almost a quarter to 11,041 owing to the pandemic and border restrictions. In 2019 there were 14,269 requests.

As border controls are eased, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) expects the number of applications to rise to around 15,000 in 2021, and for further increases over the next few years.

“We can’t give any specific figures yet, but we expect an increase in applications,” Lukas Rieder, SEM spokesperson, told Swiss public television, SRF, on Wednesday.

Over the past 12 months requests have mainly come from people from Afghanistan, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Iraq and Syria. The SEM now expects a rise in applications, especially from North and West African countries.

The SEM says financial pressures related to the pandemic are pushing many Africans to emigrate. As soon as Covid-19 measures are further lifted in countries of origin and along migration routes, there will be an increase in migration to Europe, especially from 2022 onwards, it told SRF.

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