Changes at the Swiss Italian Border (update from august 12th, 2016)

Since a couple of weeks, the Swiss border guards and police are heavily controlling the border between Switzerland and Italy. Please find here a leaflet on the current situation in english, here in french, here in arab, here in farsi, here in tigrinya and here in italian.

Switzerland > Contacts

There are several specialised groups and NGOs for legal advice on asylum as well as for undocumented persons. The main solidarity groups as well as meeting points and autonomous schools are listed here.

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Switzerland > Overview

Switzerland is not a member of the EU but it is part of Dublin II. In addition, Switzerland hasn’t repealed its boarders. Because Switzerland is so small, almost the entire territory is considered as boarder regions. The rail traffic going through (in and out) Chiasso, Geneva, Basel, Kreuzlingen/Konstanz and Buchs/Feldkirch is frequently controlled, as well as the high ways and feeder roads. Train stations are also as much as possible avoided by undocumented persons.

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Switzerland > Dublin III

Even if not member of the European Union, Switzerland is part of the Schengen and Dublin agreements. You will find detailed statistics on Dublin-deportations at the end of the documents listed here. You can find further informations here. Should you or someone you know be affected by a ‘Dublin Decision’ (“Nichteintretensentscheid gemäss Art. 31a Abs. 1 Bst. b AsylG”), you have only five working days to appeal. It is advisable, to consult one of the free legal advisory centres for asylum seekers – follow this link – as soon as possible. We also advice you to read the German Dublin-section of our Webguide.

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Switzerland > Asylum

Switzerland is well known as depositary state of the Geneva Convention on Refugees and member of the European Convention for Human Rights but this does not mean anything. In the last 30 years the Asylum Act was revised more then a dozen times, making it more and more restrictive. The last revision was accepted through public referendum in June 2016 and will probably come into effect in 2019. The result is a never-ending list of articles and sub-articles which cannot all be taken into account in a summary like this. On this page, you find an overview, here you find the official flowchart of the asylum procedure in Switzerland, and here an info sheet in several languages, which is currently not up to date but will be updated soon. To check your individual chances and improve your rights we advice you to seek legal advice as soon as possible. You find a list of free advice-centers here and a list of further contacts here.

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Switzerland > Detention

In Switzerland, there are several possibilities to take you into prison even if you didn't do anything. They call it administrative detention. The Detention Project counts up to 32 administrative centers in Switzerland and gives you a lot of informations on it. Also you will find there some links to groups working on this matters: http://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/europe/switzerland/introduction.html.

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Switzerland > Deportation

Switzerland restarted deportations to Nigeria in January 2011.

List of all migration and readmission agreements between Switzerland and other countries here.

Switzerland is also member of Schengen/Dublin and works activly with Frontex. For further information.

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Switzerland > Living

Since 2008, rejected asylum seekers don't have the right of social help anymore in Switzerland and can only grant urgent help consisting in living in totally inhuman conditions. Several Swiss NGO's and Human rights groups are campaining against this situation.

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Switzerland >Medical Assistance

Most sans-papiers (undocumented persons), migrants without valid residence permits as well as refused refugees,do not have health insurance and therefore no or only limited access to health care.

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Switzerland > Work

Unia and Syndicom, two different Suisse unions offer consults in labour-rights concerns to their members.

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Switzerland > Links