• Switzerland's news in English
‘Disappearing’ migrants on the rise in Switzerland
Many migrants come through the border point at Chiasso. Photo: Stephan Henze

‘Disappearing’ migrants on the rise in Switzerland

The Local · 5 Sep 2016, 10:28

Published: 05 Sep 2016 10:28 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A report in the SonntagsZeitung this weekend suggested that in some areas of Switzerland up to 90 percent of migrants allocated to reception centres to await the processing of their asylum application flee the centre shortly after arriving.

Responding to the paper, the Federal Migration Office (SEM) did not confirm exact numbers but acknowledged that in the last three months between 20 and 40 percent of asylum seekers have left the system in this way, their whereabouts now unknown.

Confirming the information to news agency ATS, SEM spokeswoman Chloe Kohlprath said phenomenon was not new, and that many migrants took advantage of the system by saying they wished to claim asylum in Switzerland and then disappearing before their request could be formally registered.

Under European rules, refugees are only allowed to enter Switzerland if they say they want to claim asylum here. All those who do are allocated to a SEM reception centre to be registered.

Anyone who does not state their intention to claim asylum in Switzerland is refused entry and must return to the first European country they entered.

The Swiss have been under fire over the summer for turning back thousands of migrants at the border with Italy at Chiasso. Its strict adherence to the rules is an attempt to stop it becoming a ‘transit’ country for migrants who wish to pass through Switzerland on their way Germany in order to apply for asylum there.

According to the SEM, most of those who disappear from Swiss reception centres are thought to be heading for Germany, reported ATS.

As a result, there’s nothing to suggest that there are more illegals living in Switzerland, it said.

Story continues below…

But Christoph Neuhaus, head of the justice department in the canton of Bern, told the SonntagsZeitung that the increase in ‘disappearing’ migrants over the summer was “highly problematic”.

“We cannot be sure that they really migrate further and register elsewhere as asylum seekers,” he said.

Albert Rösti, president of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) called for the border to be shut down altogether, saying the situation was “a massive security risk”.

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

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Report: Swiss progress slows on gender equality
File photo: David Soulivet

Globally, it will take 170 years to achieve gender equality, according to the World Economic Forum.

Brothers go to court to stop suicide of sibling
File photo: Lisa Edmonds

Two men have filed a legal bid to prevent the Swiss assisted suicide association Exit from helping their older brother to kill himself.

Wawrinka snubs past form to reach Basel second round
Wawrinka beat local wildcard Marco Chiudinelli. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Open champion Stan Wawrinka has reached the second round in Basel after going out in the first round for the past four years.

Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
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
jobs available