A review of 2022


SEM is continuing its Muslim pastoral care in federal asylum centres

SEM has decided to extend its Muslim pastoral care in federal centres for asylum seekers until the end of December 2022. This decision follows a study by the Centre Suisse Islam et Société (CSIS) of the University of Fribourg, which gave a very positive assessment of the project. SEM is looking for a solution to secure long-term funding for this service and give it a permanent structure.

Press release



Switzerland and Austria want to curb secondary migration and reinforce protection of external borders

On 1 February, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter met her new Austrian counterpart, Federal Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner, for the first time during a working visit to Vienna. The revision of the Schengen Borders Code and the ongoing negotiations to reform the European migration and asylum system were at the heart of the discussions. They also provided an opportunity to address bilateral cooperation on migration and counter-terrorism.

Press release


Pilot pre-apprenticeship integration programme: a successful third round, despite the COVID-19 pandemic

In the third round of the pre-apprenticeship integration programme (2020/2021), around 60% of participants, i.e. 491 out of more than 800 people, were again able to access initial vocational training with a Federal Vocational Certificate or a Federal Vocational Diploma. In addition, Parliament approved the continuation of the programme in its last winter session. SEM must therefore work with the interested programme partners from the cantons and business associations to develop a basis for offering the programme on a permanent basis from 2024.

Press Release

Swiss-Skills Winner

Integrationsvorlehre INVOL


Switzerland and Cape Verde sign two migration agreements

On 1 March, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter signed two agreements on migration with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration of the Republic of Cabo Verde, Rui Alberto de Figueiredo Soares. These agreements will enable both states to reinforce their cooperation on migration, in particular concerning repatriation.

Press release


Federal Council lifts administrative barriers to immigration from third countries

At its meeting of 4 March, the Federal Council adopted a package of measures to facilitate the admission of skilled workers from third countries. The package removes administrative obstacles while boosting the innovative capacity of the Swiss economy. These measures are socially acceptable and in line with the Constitution with regard to controlling immigration. As an immediate measure, initial administrative relief will be implemented by the end of 2022 in areas where there is a proven shortage of skilled labour.

Press release


The Armed Forces provides accommodation for potential war refugees

The Swiss Armed Forces vacates the Bülach barracks in order to provide emergency accommodation for possible refugees from Ukraine. This is the first barracks to be made available to SEM in 2022. Throughout the remainder of the year, more than two dozen temporary sites are opened thanks to close cooperation between SEM, the Swiss Armed Forces, the cantons, the communes and private partners.

Press release 10.03.2022

Press release 16.03.2022

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Press release 15.12.2022

Finding and preparing extra accommodation to cope with the flow of refugees


Ukraine: Federal Council activates protection status S for Ukrainians

The Federal Council decided on 11 March to grant Ukrainians fleeing the war protection status S without having to go through the ordinary asylum procedure. During the consultation, the activation of protection status S was unanimously approved.

Press release

Activation statut S


Ukraine: First meeting of the Special Task Force on Asylum – close collaboration between the Confederation and the cantons

The Special Task Force on Asylum (SONAS) met for the first time on 24 March. Headed by State Secretary for Migration Christine Schraner Burgener, SONAS provided participants from the federal government and the cantons with an overview of the war in Ukraine, the flow of displaced people in Europe, and accommodation in Switzerland. The Confederation and the cantons are working hard to prepare sufficient places for people who have fled Ukraine.

Press release



Ukraine: Karin Keller-Sutter visits the federal asylum centre in Basel

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter visited the federal asylum centre in Basel on 24 March to observe the registration process and the accommodation conditions for people from Ukraine seeking protection. Ms Keller-Sutter was pleased with the progress of the procedures and the improvements that have already been implemented.

Press release

BAZ Basel


Nouveau système de financement du domaine de l’asile

Le système de financement de l’asile sera modifié afin d’harmoniser au mieux les tâches de la Confédération et des cantons liées à l’encadrement, à l’aide sociale et à l’encouragement de l’intégration. Le passage au nouveau système est sans incidence sur les coûts et évite un transfert de charges systématique entre la Confédération et les cantons. Lors de sa séance du 30 mars 2022, le Conseil fédéral a fixé au 1er janvier 2023 l’entrée en vigueur de l’ordonnance concernée.

Press release


Ukraine: resettlement distribution key reinstated in the allocation of refugees

The Special Task Force on Asylum (SONAS) welcomes the fact that refugees from Ukraine will once again be allocated to the cantons in proportion to their population. This measure will gradually correct existing imbalances. The Confederation and the cantons currently have a sufficient number of accommodation places.

Press release


COVID-19: Last entry restrictions lifted on 2 May

As of 2 May, the list of countries and regions at risk of COVID-19 managed by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) no longer contains any entries. From this date, it is again possible to enter Switzerland under normal conditions. It is therefore no longer necessary to present a certificate of vaccination or a certificate of recovery on entering the country. This decision by the FDJP is on account of the positive development of the epidemiological situation.

Press release


Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter on official visit to Georgia

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter visited Tbilisi on 11 May. She met with Georgian Minister of Justice Rati Bregadze, with whom she signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a migration partnership. Following this meeting, Ms Keller-Sutter paid a courtesy call on Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri.

Press release

Extending the Migration Partnerships

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Legal amendments for the implementation of the EU Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) come into force

At its meeting on 29 June, the Federal Council decided to bring into force the legal amendments to implement the EU Regulation on the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) as of 1 September 2022, subject to the validation of the result of the popular vote on 15 May. It also took note of the results of the consultation procedure. These amendments concern the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act, the Asylum Act, the Customs Act, the Federal Decree on the Adoption and Implementation of the Bilateral Agreements between Switzerland and the EU on the Association to Schengen and Dublin, and the implementing provisions on Switzerland's participation in Frontex.

Press release


Suspension of visa facilitation for Russia

At its meeting on 16 September, the Federal Council decides to suspend in its entirety Switzerland's visa facilitation agreement with Russia. As a result, Russian nationals who wish to obtain a visa are again subject to the regular visa procedure. With this, the Federal Council is in line the decision of the European Union, thereby contributing to a uniform visa policy at European level.

Press release


Karin Keller-Sutter in Sarajevo for a migration conference

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter took part in the second Sarajevo Migration Dialogue in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 20 September. The persistently high levels of irregular secondary migration along the Western Balkans route was at the heart of the discussions. The aim of the dialogue was to reinforce collaboration between the states in the region and support their efforts to repatriate and reintegrate migrants in their countries of origin.

Press release


Switzerland and Austria agree on action plan against irregular migration

Switzerland and Austria will strengthen cooperation to effectively combat irregular migration. At a working meeting on 28 September in Zurich, Austria's Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner and Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter agreed on an action plan that includes joint political initiatives at European level and closer bilateral cooperation.

Press release


Second Swiss contribution under the migration framework credit: Karin Keller-Sutter signs first implementation agreement with Greece

The second Swiss contribution to selected EU member states will be used to fund projects and programmes that support countries facing high migratory pressure. On 14 October in Luxembourg, Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter and Greek Minister of Migration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi signed an implementation agreement on bilateral cooperation. Switzerland has earmarked CHF 40 million for the support of migration-related projects and programmes in Greece.

Press release

Second Swiss contribution


Irregular migration and Ukraine: Karin Keller-Sutter at the meeting of interior ministers of the Schengen states

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter took part in the meeting of the interior ministers of the Schengen states in Luxembourg on 14 October. Discussions focused on the security and migration situation in relation to the war in Ukraine and on irregular migration via the Balkan route. Ms Keller-Sutter called for close coordination between European partner states.

Press release


Federal asylum centres nearing saturation – temporary early departures for the cantons needed

The number of asylum seekers in Switzerland is still high. The Confederation's accommodation facilities are overcrowded and have almost no free beds. In order to be able to continue to receive, house and care for all asylum seekers, SEM is regularly setting up new facilities – but this is not enough. In order to guarantee accommodation in the federal asylum centres, some asylum seekers will be temporarily allocated to the cantons earlier than previously.

Press release


Migration framework credit: Karin Keller-Sutter signs implementation agreement with Cyprus

Switzerland will support Cyprus in the years 2023–2026 through contributions to concrete projects and programmes. Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter and Cyprus’s Interior Minister Nicos Nouris signed an agreement to this effect on 31 October in Bern. This step-up in cooperation is made possible by the migration framework credit, which is part of Switzerland's second contribution to specific EU states. This credit is intended to provide targeted support to countries facing high migratory pressure. The total cost of the project is CHF 10 million.

Press release

Second Swiss contribution


Switzerland and North Macedonia migration partnership

Switzerland and North Macedonia are now linked by a migration partnership. Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter and the Minister of the Interior of North Macedonia, Oliver Spasovski, signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect on 7 November in Bern. Switzerland has thus now concluded migration partnerships with four Western Balkans countries.

Press release

Extending the Migration Partnerships

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25th meeting of the Swiss-EU Joint Committee on Free Movement

The 25th meeting of the Swiss-EU Joint Committee on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) was held in Brussels on 25 November. As in previous meetings, the two delegations discussed various issues relating to the implementation and development of the AFMP. The Swiss side also notified the EU side of the Federal Council’s decision of 16 November to invoke the safeguard clause for Croatia in 2023.

Press release


Claudio Martelli appointed Vice Director of the State Secretariat for Migration

Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, informed the Federal Council on 2 December that Claudio Martelli would be the new Vice Director of SEM with effect from 1 December.

Press release

Claudio Martelli


Switzerland and Germany join forces to combat irregular migration

Following the bilateral action plan with Austria, Switzerland is also stepping up its cooperation with Germany to combat irregular migration. Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter and Germany's Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser agreed on an action plan on 13 December in Berlin. The two countries intend to combat criminal smuggling networks on both sides of the border and ensure the systematic enforcement of repatriation.

Press release


Ministerial Conference of the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development in Cadiz

State Secretary Christine Schraner Burgener took part in the Ministerial Conference of the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development on 13 and 14 December in Cadiz. At the conference, the approximately 60 participating countries from Europe and Africa adopted a new action plan for the years 2023–2027 to address the current challenges in the field of migration. As a new permanent member of the Steering Committee, Switzerland will contribute to policy orientation and will work to strengthen the partnership dialogue.

Press release

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