The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Reimbursement of asylum costs rightly refused

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has rightly not covered the costs for the care of a Turkish asylum seeker. The Federal Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the canton of Neuchâtel. Like the SEM, it is of the opinion that the canton did not do everything it could to carry out the repatriation on time.

By the end of August 2015, the SEM had not acted on the asylum application on the grounds that Bulgaria was responsible for the case. The canton of Neuchâtel, to which the asylum seeker had been entrusted in mid-June 2016, organized a flight to Sofia at the end of the month.

The repatriation flights had to be canceled twice because the man in question had first disappeared and then made two suicide attempts. As the doctors were against repatriation, the canton released the man from administrative detention.

As the SEM determined that the removal order had still not been enforced, it initiated a national procedure to process the asylum application at the end of October 2017. As a result, the refugee status was recognized.

Fristen verpasst

The SEM informed Neuchâtel that the reimbursement of the costs associated with the care of this person would be suspended after the deadline for the transfer to Bulgaria, i.e. on October 27, 2017. In the ruling published on Wednesday, the Federal Supreme Court rejected the appeal lodged by the Canton of Neuchâtel against the SEM decision. The costs for the care of the Turkish asylum seeker amounted to CHF 51,653.

Like the SEM, the Federal Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the Neuchâtel authorities had not done everything in their power to enforce the expulsion by the end of October 2017.

Even if medical reasons had led to the cancellation of the second flight, Neuchâtel should have regularly inquired about the applicant's condition. The State Council could not have assumed that the doctors would have refused to sign the fitness to fly form anyway, as it had claimed in its complaint.

In another case of an unexecuted deportation, the Federal Court of Neuchâtel recently ruled in favor of the SEM. This case concerned an Eritrean whose wife was pregnant.

The canton had decided not to return him to Italy. A baby girl was born shortly after the Dublin transfer deadline had expired. Switzerland therefore had to enter into the asylum procedure and granted the person concerned refugee status. (Judgment 2C_692/2022 of February 22, 2024).

©Keystone/SDA

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