We’ve written several posts over the last few years (here) about how Switzerland is trying to save itself from being swamped by needy refugees, many from Muslim countries. They did however agree to take a small number of Syrians over three years, but those numbers are now getting out of control. (Be sure to see our previous post about the rich pretending to be refugees at Davos this week.)
Interesting timing that this story should be published just as ‘Peace talks’ take place in the country since these decisions were actually made late last year.
From Inter Press Service news:
LUCERNE, Switzerland , Jan 23 2014 (IPS) – Switzerland facilitated family reunification for Syrians in September. So far, more than 1,100 Syrian refugees have benefited from the programme, while thousands are waiting at Swiss embassies in the region, hoping for a similar chance. Surprised by these numbers, Switzerland put an end to the programme.
Several European countries responded to an appeal by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last summer to admit Syrian refugees. Switzerland announced it would accept 500 “especially vulnerable refugees” over three years.
Further, the country that hosts about 2,000 citizens of Syrian origin pledged to open its borders for their relatives. By the end of November, Swiss embassies in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan had granted 1,600 Syrians a three-month entry visa.
At least 1,100 of these have already travelled to Switzerland. A further 5,000 Syrians have applied for appointments at Swiss embassies to file similar visa requests.
Either Swiss authorities were surprised by these numbers, or considered their humanitarian action short-lived. Already in early November, they introduced bureaucratic hurdles: Swiss-based Syrians who had invited their relatives now needed to meet certain financial requirements.
“Looking at the size of an average Syrian family, these requirements constitute a killer criteria,” said Beat Meiner, secretary-general of the Swiss Refugee Council (SFH). “Few of the Swiss-based Syrians have enough money to clear these hurdles.”
I think that is exactly why the Swiss don’t want more refugees—they bring poverty and a need for more social services. Not to mention the cultural conflicts already happening.