Refugees: Switzerland forces migrants to hand over possessions to help pay for their upkeep – but also claims 10% of any wages
Refugees arriving in Switzerland are facing harsh new integration laws with authorities confiscating valuable possessions and taxing 10 per cent of the migrants’ future earnings.
Following the example set by Denmark, in which possessions worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs are taken, the country claims the measures are necessary to pay for the migrants’ upkeep.
The harsh rules come as Denmark backtracks on similar measures after being rebuked by the UN refugee agency and drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany.
Local broadcaster SRF showed a receipt a refugee from Syria which he claimed to have received from authorities when he had to turn over more than half of the cash his family had left after paying traffickers to help them get to the Alpine country.
It also showed an information sheet for refugees that stated: ‘If you have property worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs when you arrive at a reception centre you are required to give up these financial assets in return for a receipt.’
The country’s migration authority SEM said the law calls for asylum seekers and refugees to contribute where possible to the cost of processing their applications and providing social assistance.
‘If someone leaves voluntarily within seven months this person can get the money back and take it with them. Otherwise the money covers costs they generate,’ an SEM spokeswoman told SRF.
Remarkably, those who win the right to stay and work in Switzerland have to also surrender 10 percent of their pay for up to 10 years until they repay 15,000 francs in costs.
Stefan Frey, from refugee aid group Schweizerische Fluechtlingshilfe, called the measures ‘undignified’.
It comes as Denmark amends a proposal to confiscate refugees’ possessions to pay for their stay by raising the amount they will be allowed to keep.
The plans sparked international outrage, especially in the US, where the Washington Post noted that confiscating jewellery from refugees
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