Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority


Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 30/06/23


Swiss Refugee Council Visit Website
Name in English Number of staff Ministry responsible Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision making in individual cases by the determining authority?
State Secretariat for Migration

(Asylum Department)

650 Federal Department of Justice and Police  No

Source:  SEM, 1 May 2023.


The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance. It falls under the responsibility of the Federal Department of Justice and Police. The guidelines and circulars of the SEM relating to the asylum procedure are publicly accessible and can be consulted online.[1]

The SEM employs 1,277 officials, who work not only on asylum but also other areas in the field of migration such as immigration or integration. Out of them, 650 officials worked in the Asylum Department as of December 2022. 22 officials work in the COI department, 9 officials in the LINGUA department. The number of caseworkers examining applications for international protection in the six asylum regions is 242. In the headquarters in Bern, 53 officials work in the field of asylum procedures, 16 officials in the field of the Dublin regulation. Every single asylum decision is double checked by the head of unit or their deputy. There is also a Quality Management team at the main offices in Bern, but they only check a representative selection of decisions in order to improve the processes and contents of decisions, and the results of such monitoring are not public.

Where? SEM Asylum Department
Bern (Headquarter) 841 243
Federal Asylum Centre Bern 55 55
Federal Asylum Centre Altstätten 62 59
Federal Asylum Centre Basel 67 64
Federal Asylum Centre Boudry 108 105
Federal Asylum Centre Chiasso 57 54
Federal Asylum Centre Zurich 75 70
Airport Zurich 9
Airport Geneva 3




[1] SEM, Guidelines and circulars, available in French (and German and Italian) at: A Handbook on Asylum and Return for SEM employees providing useful information on Swiss law and practice is also available online in French (and German) at:

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