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Switzerland: Visa Applications From Earthquake Victims Will Be Prioritised

Victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria will be subject to fast-track visa procedures by the Swiss authorities, who can be temporarily hosted by their close relatives in the country.

According to Swiss media, a valid visa is still required for entry to the country, with some cases making an exception. People who have had their homes destroyed will also have to provide urgent medical documents to benefit from the fast-track visa procedures, as the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration points out, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Despite this exception which applies as an extraordinary measure, the procedures for granting visas will remain in alignment with Schengen law. This procedure will be available to interested persons at the Swiss embassy and consolations in Istanbul.

The Swiss government will deploy additional staff to Turkey in an effort to help the Consulate General in Istanbul process visa applications. The authorities aim to ensure that visa applications for victims of the earthquake that have close relatives can have their visas processed quickly so they can move to Switzerland sooner.

Syrians and Turks represent two of the top ten countries of origin for migrants in Switzerland. According to data from the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration, a total of 552 applications for temporary protection were recorded in October while Syrians filed 79 asylum applications.

In general, it is estimated that nearly 120,000 people of Turkish origin live in Switzerland, while data from Asylum Information Database (AIDA) show that Turks are the second-largest nationality group to seek international protection throughout 2021.

More specifically, 2,330 applications for international protection were submitted by Syrian nationals, with 817 of those being pending and 1,444 obtaining the protection status. Furthermore, 140 had temporary admission and another 224 were rejected. In conclusion, the asylum rate among Turkish nationals stands at 85 per cent while the temporary admission rates stand at six per cent. In addition, rejection rates among applications filed by this nationality group are relatively low – ten per cent.

The same source shows that Syria is ranked fourth as the country of origin for applicants seeking international protection in Switzerland. More specifically, Syria falls behind Afghanistan, Turkey and Eritrea as countries of origin for most applications filed in 2021, with 1,024 applications submitted by Syrian nationals.

600 of those received a positive decision while another 214 applications were pending. In addition, those granted temporary admission reached 379, taking these rates to 36 per cent. Moreover, the asylum rate among Syrians was 57 per cent while rejection rates stand at seven per cent.

Source : Schengen Visa

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