Switzerland: Tougher Rules Against Fake Ukrainian “Refugees”

The Council of States of the Swiss Confederation welcomes two proposals to combat forms of “abusive tourism” by Ukrainian refugees and to limit beneficiaries

Benedikt Würth (a sinistra) e Esther Friedli

The Council of Cantons, one of the two chambers of the Swiss parliament representing the cantons, passed two proposals on June 12 aimed at reducing the Swiss Confederation’s spending on fake Ukrainian “refugees.” The first proposal, submitted by centrist MP Benedikt Würth, stipulates that the “protective S status” should have the possibility to be withdrawn or not extended under certain circumstances. A second motion was also passed, proposed by Esther Friedli, a member of the Democratic Center Group (UDC), who “wants to limit the circle of beneficiaries to those who come from regions of Ukraine occupied by Russia or directly affected by the conflict.” In addition, Friedli suggested that “protection S” status should not be granted (and stripped if already granted) to those coming from Ukrainian regions far from the battlefront.

According to the Swiss deputies, the Protective Law S has become a gold mine for thousands of Ukrainians, as it guarantees children the right to residence, housing, assistance, access to medical care, and education. The status is valid for one year, renewable for up to 5 years, and allows family reunification, as well as travel abroad and return to Switzerland without a travel permit. Holders of “protection S” status can also engage in profitable activities (even on their own) without a waiting period.

It turns out, says the Swiss press, that “among the Ukrainian refugees, there are many who refuse protection in Switzerland, taking advantage of significant financial assistance to return home and come back a few weeks later to knock on the doors of the Swiss Confederation for a second permit.” This phenomenon, called “Ukrainian tourism” in Switzerland, entails considerable costs. Under Würth’s proposal, the S status would have to be revoked for those who “left Swiss territory beyond a certain period, who used the contribution to return to Ukraine, or who received protection in an improper manner.”