Certain asylum seekers have reported disbelief, frustration and a sense of injustice upon seeing the integration and fast track visa measures offered to Ukrainian refugees in Switzerland. In response, Karin Keller-Sutter, Switzerland’s minister of police and justice, explained the differences in treatment to RTS.
Recently, rumours of discontent among non-Ukrainian asylum seekers in Switzerland have spread. Several migration aid organisations confirmed the rumours to Swiss broadcaster RTS.
When Ukrainian refugees arrive in Switzerland they bypass the normal asylum procedure and are given S visas which give immediate access to employment, fast track family reunification, language courses and a number of other advantages. Around 26,000 refugees from Ukraine have benefited from the fast track scheme over the last two months. Some asylum seekers from other nations have noticed this unequal treatment and have voiced their discontent.
However, according to Karin Keller-Sutter the differences are justified. S visas are temporary, while most asylum requests made by refugees from other nations are to stay permanently in Switzerland. A person who wants to stay permanently must demonstrate that they are threatened, that there is racial or religious persecution against them, Keller-Sutter told RTS. It’s a different process. In addition, Ukrainians have been returning to Ukraine on a daily basis, she said.
Despite the sense of injustice voiced among other asylum seekers, staff at Swiss asylum facilities report that the overall feeling is not of anger but rather of support and solidarity for Ukrainians fleeing war.