War in Ukraine: Switzerland grants protection to people fleeing the war

War in Ukraine: Switzerland grants protection to people fleeing the war

Since the outbreak of the war, people from Ukraine have sought protection from the conflict in Western Europe. Switzerland has shown its solidarity by activating the Protection Status S for the first time. This allows people from Ukraine to be granted protection quickly and without any complex procedures. They obtain residence rights without having to go through the standard asylum process.


Since the outbreak of the war on 24 February, more than four million people have fled Ukraine. On 11 March, the Federal Council decided that people from Ukraine seeking protection will be granted Protection Status S. This temporary status, activated for the first time, gives people fleeing Ukraine a right of residence without having to go through the standard asylum process.

Protection Status S is valid until it is lifted by the Federal Council. A condition for its lifting is lasting stability in Ukraine, so that the population is no longer exposed to a serious general danger. Recent developments show that this is not the case at present. The Federal Council therefore decided on 9 November not to lift Protection Status S until 4 March 2024 unless the situation changes fundamentally before then. The decision provides clarity not only for the Ukrainian refugees, but also for the cantons, the communes and employers.

The S status allows people fleeing the war to be joined by family members. They can travel freely and work, as Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter explained: ʻThe S status is geared to returning home, but people should be able to interact socially and work during their stay in Switzerland.ʼ To ensure that those seeking protection quickly obtain accommodation, food and medical care, the Confederation and cantons are coordinating matters at political and technical levels.

By introducing Protection Status S, the Federal Council has adopted a solution in line with the EU approach. Since the outbreak of the war, Federal Councillor Keller-Sutter has met regularly with her counterparts from the Schengen states to discuss the situation and coordinate the registration and protection of those who have fled Ukraine.

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Last modification 22.02.2023

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