Withdrawal of protection status

Switzerland

Country Report: Withdrawal of protection status Last updated: 14/05/21

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The SEM shall revoke asylum or deprive a person of refugee status if the foreign national concerned has fraudulently obtained asylum or refugee status by providing false information or by concealing essential facts. Furthermore, the SEM shall deprive a person of refugee status if he/she travels to his/her country of origin. The asylum will also be withdrawn if a refugee has violated or represents a threat to Switzerland’s internal or external security, or has committed a particularly serious criminal offence.[1] The revocation of asylum or the deprivation of refugee status applies in relation to all federal and cantonal authorities. As a consequence of the withdrawal of asylum and refugee status, the residence permit will also be withdrawn as the purpose for the permit has ceased.

If only the asylum was withdrawn and not the refugee status, the person concerned could be entitled to a temporary admission as a refugee (see the distinction in Residence Permit).

The grounds for a withdrawal are always examined individually. The revocation of asylum or the deprivation of refugee status does not extend to the spouse or the children of the person concerned. Before the asylum or temporary admission status is withdrawn, the SEM grants the right to be heard in written form but no individual interview is usually conducted.[2]

As in general any ruling can be subject to an appeal,[3] the withdrawal of the protection status can also be appealed. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of notification of the ruling.[4] No legal assistance is foreseen in the law for this specific case, but the general rule regarding legal aid is applicable: If it is necessary in order to safeguard the right of the person concerned, the court can appoint a lawyer to represent the applicant.[5]

In 2020, asylum was withdrawn in 126 cases: in all but 13 cases, the people concerned were also deprived of their refugee status (in those 13 cases, the persons must have received a temporary admission). In 85 additional cases, the refugee status was withdrawn to temporarily admitted persons who already did not benefit from asylum (F refugees).[6]

As seen in the chapter on Cessation, temporary admission can be withdrawn under Article 84(2) FNIA after review of the conditions that led the authorities to consider the removal as not enforceable and unreasonable. Such review procedure should be conducted for all members of the group concerned by the change of circumstances in the country of origin and is very rarely initiated. Between 2018 and 2020, however, the temporary admission of 3,400 Eritreans has been reviewed, leading to withdrawals in 83 cases.

Withdrawal of temporary admission can also be ordered under Article 84(3) FNIA if someone has been sentenced to a long-term custodial sentence in Switzerland or abroad; has seriously or repeatedly violated or represented a threat to public security and order in Switzerland or abroad or represented a threat to internal or the external security; or has made their removal or expulsion impossible due to their own conduct. Those are also grounds for excluding applicants from the temporary admission status in the first place. However, such exclusion or revocation is only possible when temporary admission was granted because enforcement of removal was considered unreasonable or impossible, but not if it was considered inadmissible (because it would violate international law).[7] The revocation of temporary admission requires a detailed examination of the principle of proportionality, where the public interest to remove the applicant and his/her private interest of pursuing their life in Switzerland (integration, family ties, etc.) must be carefully balanced.

In 2020, 39 temporary admissions were withdrawn on such legal basis.[8]

On 1 October 2016, changes to the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and the Criminal Code came into force. Foreigners who commit criminal acts (not only severe criminal acts but also for example social welfare fraud) can more easily be expelled under the new rules.[9] In case of an expulsion order, which is pronounced under criminal law, the asylum status will be withdrawn. Temporary admission shall not be granted or shall expire if an order for expulsion from Switzerland becomes legally enforceable.[10] There is not sufficient information on how this is applied so far.

 

 

[1]        Article 63 AsylA.

[2]        Information provided by the SEM, 18 January 2017.

[3]        Article 44 Federal Act on Administrative Procedure.

[4]        Article 50 Federal Act on Administrative Procedure.

[5]        Article 65(2) Federal Act on Administrative Procedure.

[6]        Information provided by the SEM, 19 March 2021.

[7]        Article 83(7) FNIA.

[8]        Information provided by the SEM, 19 March 2021.

[9]        Federal Council, Referendum on Asylum Act of 5 June 2016.

[10]       Article 83(9) FNIA.

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