Author(s) : Constantin Hruschka
- Since 2014, Switzerland has been testing a new asylum procedure. The so-called test phase has largely been successful. The nationwide launch of the new Swiss asylum procedure is scheduled for 1 March 2019.
- The new set-up promises to streamline processes and accelerate asylum procedures. The procedure is based on the Dutch model, adapted to Switzerland’s federal context. It comprises clearly defined steps. During the test phase more than half of asylum decisions were taken within 140 days in dedicated ‘federal asylum centres’ (Bundesasylzentren).
- A first comprehensive evaluation of the test phase was positive. The procedure is economical, faster, qualitatively better and more accepted by all participants. There is room for improvement in the areas of appeal time limits, process coordination, quality assurance and independent legal representation.
- As a lesson for other European countries, the Swiss model shows that asylum procedure reform can succeed only with the broad involvement of all concerned.
- Key to the efficiency of the procedure is that asylum seekers must be in a position to participate in the procedure in an informed manner, and assisted by comprehensive, independent and supportive advice.