48-hour procedure extended to Kosovo and Georgia

Keywords: Asylum

Press Release, SEM, 26.03.2013

Bern. Since the 25th March 2013, the Federal Office for Migration has also been applying the 48-hour procedure to asylum seekers from Kosovo and Georgia. Rapid repatriation can be carried out to both countries of origin. In August 2012, the Federal Office for Migration carried out accelerated asylum procedures (48-hour procedure) for people from visa-exempt European countries for the first time. Since then, asylum applications from the nations concerned have declined significantly.

Since August 2012, asylum applications from visa-exempt European countries Serbia, the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been decided during the 48-hour procedure, unless further investigations are deemed necessary. The experiences have been positive. Therefore, the accelerated procedure will be systematically continued and extended to the two non-visa-exempt countries Kosovo and Georgia.

Over the past year, 579 people from Kosovo and 726 people from Georgia have filed for asylum in Switzerland. Both countries have a high proportion of unfounded asylum applications, and a correspondingly low protection rate. The acceptance rate last year was 0.6% for Kosovo and 0.3% for Georgia. Only six people from these two countries were given asylum in the past year.

No vulnerable persons under the Asylum Act

In 2009, the Swiss Federal Council designated Kosovo as a country with no risk of prosecution. It is a young state, which is still under construction, but which makes great efforts to integrate minorities. Switzerland is, in this regard, in regular contact with the Kosovan authorities, whom they support with projects (housing, access to education) in the framework of the migration partnership.

As a rule, neither asylum-seekers from Kosovo, nor those from Georgia require protection from persecution under the Asylum Act. At the same time, they occupy spaces in the Swiss asylum system that are needed for actual refugees. This situation leads to temporarily overcrowded conditions and damages the credibility of the Swiss asylum system, which is based on the principle that truly persecuted people will be given shelter and protection, and will be taken in with dignity.

48-hour procedure

The 48-hour procedure is carried out in reception and procedure centres. The interview teams conclude the procedure within 48 hours following their initial interview with the person. Immediately after issuing a negative asylum decision, the process of procuring replacement travel documents begins and departure instructions are issued directly from a reception and procedure centre whenever possible.

An entry ban is usually imposed in the case of rejected applications from individuals who allow their departure deadline to pass by. The same applies to people who have disturbed public security and filed multiple unfounded applications.

The partner states will be informed of the measures in bilateral talks. Document procurement works well and outbound journey's are made quickly.

Asylum applications from persons from Kosovo and Georgia which require further investigation are thus far dealt with outside of the 48-hour procedure.

Further information

Press Release in other languages

  • Albanian (PDF, 50.88 KB)

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  • Georgian (PDF, 72.88 KB)

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