No lifting of protection status S
Bern, 09.11.2022 - The situation in Ukraine is not expected to change in the foreseeable future. The Federal Council therefore decided at its meeting on 9 November not to lift the protection status S for Ukrainian refugees before 4 March 2024 unless the situation in Ukraine changes fundamentally before then. In addition, support measures for people with protection status S will be extended by one year.
As a result of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, the Federal Council decided to grant Ukrainian refugees protection status S from 12 March 2022. This provides temporary protection to those in need as long as they are exposed to a serious general danger. Since March, more than 67,000 Ukrainians have received protection in Switzerland.
Protection status S is valid until it is lifted by the Federal Council. A condition of its lifting is lasting stability in Ukraine so that the population is no longer exposed to a serious general danger. This is not the case at present as acts of war continue across the country.
The Federal Council has therefore decided not to lift the protection status S until 4 March 2024 unless the situation changes fundamentally before then. This decision provides clarity not only for the Ukrainian refugees, but also for the cantons, the communes and employers. In mid-October, the EU also indicated that owing to the current situation it plans to extend its temporary protection status for Ukrainians until spring 2024.
Support and permits to be extended
Unlike the protection status, the residence permits of those with protection status S are limited to one year. The Federal Council has therefore instructed the cantons to extend the permits by one year on expiry. It is also extending the specific support measures for people with protection status S, which were first adopted on 13 April 2022, until 4 March 2024. The Confederation contributes CHF 3,000 per person per year to these measures, which is paid to the cantons in stages.
Federal funding is used in particular to promote language learning so that Ukrainian refugees can quickly take up employment and become socially integrated. This maintains their ability to return to Ukraine and reduces social welfare costs. According to the cantons, this support has proven worthwhile in the current crisis.
Preparations under way for an end to temporary protection and a return home
Protection status S was conceived as a temporary measure and with a view to refugees returning home once the general danger is over. Even though the current situation is not conducive to lifting the S protection status in the foreseeable future, the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP), the cantons and the communes are already laying the groundwork for its lifting once there is lasting stability in Ukraine, for example by providing specific incentives for a rapid return.
Despite the ongoing war, some Ukrainians who fled abroad or who were internally displaced have returned home. At the end of October, 6,394 people had permanently left Switzerland, 1,916 of them with return assistance.
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