The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Switzerland has more people in 2023 than in the previous year

Updated at 13 Feb 2024 2:40 pm

Switzerland expelled more than 19 percent more people in 2023 than in the previous year. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) reported at the request of the Keystone-SDA news agency that the increase in deportations was partly due to good cooperation with key countries such as Iraq and Algeria.

Last year, for example, special deportation flights to Algeria and Iraq were carried out for the first time, it was reported. The constant dialog, many years of development work and confidence-building are paying off. This also applies to the cantons, for example when dealing with particularly challenging cases, the SEM wrote.

Migration agreements, readmission agreements and institutionalized return cooperation with dozens of countries are also reasons for the increase in deportations.

5742 people left Switzerland in 2023, either voluntarily or forcibly. Departures increased by 11.5 percent in terms of returns to the country of origin and by 28.3 percent in terms of transfers to another European country under the Dublin system.

2021 people were transferred under the Dublin system last year - compared to 1566 in the previous year. In 2023, Switzerland recorded three times more departures than arrivals under the Dublin system, according to the SEM press release.

More forced than voluntary returns

The total of 5,742 deportees were mainly asylum seekers whose asylum application had been rejected and who had not been granted temporary admission - or for whom another European state was responsible for carrying out the asylum procedure.

Of those expelled, just over 35 percent left voluntarily. According to the SEM, almost 65 percent were returned. The highest number of deportees returned to Algeria in 2023. The second and third most were to Turkey and Georgia.

Thanks to the further increase in the number of departures, it was possible to keep the number of pending departures stable compared to 2022. This was despite a significantly higher number of new asylum applications, the SEM also reported.

The number of pending returns - i.e. people waiting to be returned - was 4,162 at the end of 2023, an increase of one percent compared to the previous year.

People who had fled Ukraine are not included in the statistics. 10,978 people with protection status S returned to Ukraine voluntarily in the course of 2023. In total, 16,720 people left Switzerland last year.

©Keystone/SDA

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