Residence permit

Switzerland

Country Report: Residence permit Last updated: 19/04/22

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Refugees with asylum (status B)

Recognised refugees with asylum receive a residence permit called B-permit.[1] This permit is issued for a year and then prolonged by the responsible canton. Recognised refugees with asylum have a right to have this permit issued and prolonged. If there are reasons to withdraw the refugee status, the right to have the permit issued and prolonged is withdrawn. In 2021, asylum status and B-permits were granted to 5,369 persons, including those afforded family asylum.[2] On 31 December 2021, there were a total of 53,205 recognised refugees with a B-permit in Switzerland.[3]

Temporary admission (status F)

Persons granted temporary admission receive an F-permit.[4] Technically this is not considered a real permit of stay, but rather the confirmation that a deportation order cannot be carried out and that the person is allowed to stay in Switzerland as long as this is the case. The concept of temporary admission is legally designed as a replacement measure for a deportation order that cannot be carried out because of international law obligations, humanitarian reasons or practical obstacles. This means that there is a negative decision, but the execution of this decision is stayed for the duration of the legal or humanitarian obstacles. Consequently, the F-permit has a number of relevant limitations: for example, persons with an F-permit are only allowed to travel outside Switzerland in exceptional cases, under restrictive and limited circumstances. Also, family reunification is only possible after a waiting period of 3 years, and under the condition that the person is financially independent and has a large enough apartment. The F-permit is issued for one year and then prolonged by the responsible canton, unless there are reasons to end the temporary admission.

In 2021, 3,229 persons were granted a temporary admission as a foreigner.[5] On 31 December 2021, there were a total of 37,124 persons with a temporary admission as a foreigner living in Switzerland. Out of these, 12,866 persons have had this status for more than seven years.[6]

There are also persons who have a refugee status but receive only temporary admission instead of asylum (in case of exclusion grounds from asylum, as Switzerland makes the distinction between refugee status and asylum). They receive the same F-permit as other foreigners with temporary admission (with the mention “refugee”), but in addition they have the right to a refugee travel document, and all the other rights granted by the Refugee Convention. In 2021, 660 persons were granted a temporary admission as a refugee. [7] On 31 December 2021, there were a total of 9,513 persons with a temporary admission as a refugee living in Switzerland. Out of these, 5,329 persons have had this status for more than seven years.[8]

The Swiss Refugee Council is not aware of systematic difficulties in the issuance or renewal of those residence permits with the exception of the situation of Eritrean nationals (see Differential Treatment of Specific Nationalities in the Procedure).

Temporary protection (status S)

Swiss asylum law provides the possibility to grant temporary protection (“protection provisoire”, “S permit”) to persons in need of protection during a period of serious general danger, in particular during a war or civil war as well as in situations of general violence (Articles 66-79a AsylA). This instrument – introduced in the aftermath of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia – should enable the Swiss authorities to react in an appropriate, quick and pragmatic manner to situations of mass exodus. It was activated for the first time in the context of the war in Ukraine by the Federal Council on 11 March 2022. The status shows some parallels to the EU Temporary Protection Status. It is provided to a certain category of persons (listed below) without undergoing an asylum procedure. Only in obvious cases of asylum grounds (it remains to be seen what “obvious” means), access to the asylum procedure is granted. The status allows immediate access to the labour market as well as freedom of movement within Europe.[9]

Protection status S applies to the following categories of persons:

  1. Ukrainian citizens seeking protection and their family members (partners, underage children and other close relatives and who were fully or partially supported at the time of the escape) who were resident in Ukraine before 24 February 2022;
  2. Persons seeking protection of other nationalities and stateless persons as well as their family members as defined in letter a who have applied for international or national protection status in Ukraine prior to 24 February 2022;
  3. Protection seekers of other nationalities and stateless persons as well as their family members as defined in letter a, who are in possession of a valid short stay or residence permit giving them a valid right of residence in Ukraine and who cannot be returned to their home countries in safety and permanently.[10]

 

 

 

[1] Article 60(1) AsylA.

[2] This refers to persons who have been granted asylum on a derivative ground, particularly members of the nuclear family who are not entitled to their own grounds for asylum.

[3] SEM, asylum statistics 2021.

[4] Article 41(2) and Article 85(1) FNIA.

[5] SEM, asylum statistics 2021 (7-40).

[6] SEM, asylum statistics 2021 (6-10).

[7] SEM, asylum statistics 2021 (7-40).

[8] SEM, asylum statistics 2021 (6-10).

[9] More information on the rights the status provides can be found on the OSAR website, in German and French: https://bit.ly/3x3GvxQ.

[10] BBl 2022 586; “Allgemeinverfügung zur Gewährung des vorübergehenden Schutzes im Zusammenhang mit der Situation in der Ukraine”, published by the Federal Council on 11 March 2022.

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