Status process for Ukrainians takes too long

The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) expects asylum procedures for Ukrainian asylum-seekers to take longer on average this year than in 2023. This is despite the creation of a taskforce dedicated to processing applications for protection status S.

In the last six months of 2023, the average procedure for an application took 24 days, the SEM told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-ATS on Saturday, confirming information from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. According to the SEM, 5,000 applications for S status have already been submitted and are currently awaiting processing.

According to the SEM, the newly created taskforce has 34 full-time posts. A further nine full-time equivalents are due to be recruited in the coming weeks, it added.

The members of the new team have been recruited from various sectors where the tasks are less urgent, for example the staff who are normally responsible for the resettlement programme, which is currently suspended. But even with these additional taskforce members, the procedures relating to S status will take longer on average, according to the SEM.

“The general context has changed, two years having passed since the start of the war,” it explained. Clarification work has increased significantly and often takes much longer than before.

According to an SEM spokeswoman, for each new application for S status, the State Secretariat has to check whether the person concerned has obtained protection in another European country. It is also becoming more difficult to determine whether the centre of an applicant’s life was in Ukraine before the start of the war.

To date, around 86,000 Ukrainians have applied for protection status S in Switzerland. This year the government expects some 25,000 similar applications, provided that the military situation in Ukraine does not change significantly.

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