Irregular immigration to Switzerland: Arrests almost tripled in 2022

Irregular immigration to Switzerland: Arrests almost tripled in 2022

By Le Figaro with AFP

Posted 4 hours ago, Updated 4 hours ago

Irregular migration had declined during the Covid-19 pandemic but has increased in most countries since restrictions were lifted. MAXIM SCHEMETOV / Portal

Arrests for irregular immigration nearly tripled in Switzerland in 2022, topping 52,000 people, according to statistics released on Thursday by the Federal Office of Customs and Border Protection.

The number of people arrested for staying illegally in Switzerland has risen sharply over the past three years, from 11,043 in 2020 to 18,859 in 2021 and 52,077 last year. The number in December is lower than November, but has risen sharply year-on-year. Last December, 5,965 migrants were arrested, compared to 2,617 in December 2021.

A majority of Afghans and Moroccans

“This value is mainly due to the irregular entry of migrants into Switzerland at the eastern border and at the southern border in Ticino”, namely Austria and Italy, the Federal Office said. Most of the irregular migrants arriving in December are Afghans and Moroccans.

However, the number of suspected smugglers (476) is practically unchanged compared to the previous year (478). The population of Switzerland has more than doubled since 1900; While there were 3.3 million, Switzerland today has 8.7 million inhabitants, including 2.2 million foreigners.

Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it is part of the Schengen area and Swiss customs officers therefore do not carry out systematic identity checks at the borders with neighboring countries (France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein).

Irregular migration had declined during the Covid-19 pandemic but has increased in most countries since restrictions were lifted. It has increased significantly in recent months, particularly via the Balkan route.

At the end of September, Austria and Switzerland agreed on an “action plan” to counteract this development, including the use of joint patrols in cross-border rail traffic.

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Serbia involved

European Union countries – and Switzerland – accused Serbia in October of serving as a gateway to the EU for Turkish, Indian, Tunisian, Cuban and Burundian migrants who were until then exempt from visas to travel to Serbia, which is not part of the EU is EU.

“Switzerland is also severely affected by these migration movements and records up to 1,100 wiretapping actions a week on the eastern border,” said the State Secretariat for Migration in October.

Since then, Serbia has announced a visa system for Tunisians and Burundians. In 2022, Switzerland took in around 24,000 regular asylum seekers and around 75,000 Ukrainians who benefited from special protection status, says S.

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