• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss target airlines in asylum crackdown

Caroline Bishop · 3 Sep 2015, 10:07

Published: 03 Sep 2015 10:07 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A minimum fine of 4,000 francs ($4,100) per passenger will be applied to airlines who transport illegal passengers from outside the Schengen zone into Switzerland, news agency ATS reported on Wednesday.

The fine will rise to 16,000 francs ($16,500) in serious cases.

The new rule, approved by the federal government on Wednesday, will alter the burden of responsibility for illegal passengers.

At the moment, authorities have to prove that airlines have failed to exercise the correct checks on their customers.

From October 1st that will change, so airlines must prove a passenger is in possession of valid papers, said ATS.

Airlines will only escape a fine if they can demonstrate they took all reasonable and necessary measures to avoid transporting a passenger without the required papers, or if the passenger used false documents that were not readily detectable.

The new law will also allow the Swiss authorities better access to information about potential asylum seekers arriving in the country, reports ATS.

At the moment, it’s down to airlines themselves to choose to transmit information on the identity and itinerary of passengers on certain flights to Swiss border control after takeoff.

After October 1st, Swiss authorities will have automatic access to such information.

The Swiss migration office will also be able to compel an airline to divulge information on certain flights and passengers, or face a fine of 4,000 to 12,000 francs per flight.  

The new law comes as Switzerland continues to assess its stance towards the worsening refugee crisis across Europe.

Story continues below…

The Swiss government predicts that it will receive around 30,000 asylum requests this year.

It has already received 20 percent more requests from January to July 2015 than during the same period last year.

A Basel University survey published by the Schweiz am Sonntag weekly last weekend revealed that  83.1 percent of those questioned wanted Switzerland to provide generous assistance in the places where the crisis is unfolding, rather than by taking more refugees into the Alpine nation.
Two thirds of the people polled said they feared allowing too many refugees into Switzerland would hurt the country's prosperity, while 44.6 percent said they wanted Swiss borders temporarily closed.

Eritreans are the largest group of asylum seekers in Switzerland, followed by Somalis, Sir Lankans and Syrians.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Caroline Bishop (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP file picture

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf, marking one of the first such rulings in Switzerland, media reported Sunday.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available