Access to the territory and push backs


Country Report: Access to the territory and push backs Last updated: 30/06/23


Swiss Refugee Council Visit Website

There is no reported case of push backs known to the Swiss Refugee council in 2022.

Legal access to the territory (beyond family reunification)

Third country nationals can apply for a humanitarian visa. The Swiss Red Cross used to run a counter for counselling on humanitarian visas which was closed down in December 2021 due to the restrictive practice in Switzerland.[1] In 2022, out of 3,703 applications only 142 were accepted. The most relevant countries in terms of applications were Afghanistan (1,759 applications, 98 accepted), Iran (849 applications, 3 accepted) and Syria (745 applications, 12 accepted). Further humanitarian visas were given to 6 persons from Eritrea, 9 from Myanmar, 4 from Sri Lanka, 1 person from Tajikistan and 5 from Türkiye.[2]

The Swiss government offers about 800 places for resettlement per year. In view of improving planning, the Federal Council intends to adopt a resettlement programme every two years within the range of 1,500 to 2,000 refugees. On 19 May 2021, the Federal Council approved the admission of up to 1,600 particularly vulnerable refugees for 2022/23.[3] As of December 2022, the Swiss government has announced a temporary halt to the resettlement program. The government claimed that there were no more capacities to take more people in.[4] In 2022, 641 persons entered Switzerland under the Resettlement programme, most of them from Syria (436), followed by Afghanistan (95) and Sudan (49). For 2023, 1,179 places are available.[5]

Switzerland participated in 2015 and 2016 on a voluntary basis in the EU relocation programmes (relocation from Greece and Italy). Since then, Switzerland has not participated in relocation and neglected any such request.[6]

Evacuations from Afghanistan 2021: Switzerland declared at the end of August 2021 that its immediate priority was to evacuate and welcome local staff from its temporarily closed Kabul cooperation office, and their immediate families.[7] Switzerland evacuated its local staff from the Swiss Development Cooperation Office (SDC) in Kabul, which was closed on 13 August 2021 following the Taliban takeover. As a result, 219 SDC staff were evacuated, including 132 local staff and their families. These 132 people were counted towards Switzerland’s resettlement quota.[8] After that, Switzerland ended its evacuation scheme and did not attempt any further evacuations which was criticised by civil society.




[1] Information on the application for a humanitarian visa can still be found in on their homepage

[2] Data provided by the SEM, 1 May 2023.

[3] Communication of the SEM in English available at:

[4] See Infomigrants, Switzerland freezes admission of resettlement refugees, 20 December 2022,

[5] Data provided by the SEM, 1 May 2023.

[6] Information provided by the SEM, 1 May 2023.

[7] See, Switzerland divided on taking Afghan refugees, 26 August 2021, available in English at:

[8] Information shared by Swiss Refugee Council, November 2021, see also ECRE, Afghans seeking protection in Europe, December 2021, available in English at:, 19.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection