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Switzerland plans online registration for Ukrainian refugees

SEM head Christine Schraner Burgener, (front, left), helping to fill in forms at the Federal Asylum Centre in Zurich on Sunday © Keystone / Michael Buholzer

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is planning to set up online registration for Ukrainian refugees, after long queues at federal asylum centres at the weekend.

This content was published on March 14, 2022 - 10:47
Keystone-SDA/SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

“We are sorry that refugees have had to wait outside for hours," SEM head Christine Schraner Burgener said at a press conference at the Federal Asylum Centre in Zurich on Sunday.

Centre employees have been distributing bottles of water and baby food to those waiting in Zurich. People were able to fill in some forms in a tent outside the centre.

Federal asylum centre websites – as well as the SEM websiteExternal link – are now showing which places are the busiest with a red, yellow and green marking.

S permit

On Friday the Swiss government announced that Ukrainians fleeing the war would be eligible for a temporary S permit to live, work and go to school in Switzerland. This came into force on Saturday. The status, initially valid for a year, has never before been activated.

On Saturday, it was reported that that federal asylum centres were being overrun with people rushing to register.

Online registration should speed up the process, especially for those refugees who have already found accommodation with friends or family. “We want to digitalise the system better,” Schraner Burgener said. She also pledged to obtain more machines for finger printing.

Places to stay

The main priority was that refugees had a place to say. SEM spokesman Daniel Bach said that there was still enough room in federal asylum centres.

By Monday morning, 3,843 Ukrainians – mostly women and children – had been registered. The original cautious estimation had been of around 1,000 Ukrainians arriving in Switzerland a week, the news agency Keystone-SDA noted.

The non-governmental Swiss Refugee CouncilExternal link is coordinating access to safe private accommodation in Switzerland. It said around 45,000 beds were available privately, as well as a further 5,000 beds in hotels, scout hostels and other buildings.

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