There are different residence statuses:
– N permit (asylum seeker): Whilst your application is being processed and until conclusion of the procedure, you will obtain residence status N (Art. 42 Asylum Act, AsylA).
– B permit (recognised refugee): If you have been granted refugee status and have received asylum, you will receive the B permit (Art. 60, para. 1 Asylum Act, AsylA).
– F permit (temporarily accepted refugee): If you have had your refugee status accepted, but not been granted asylum, you will receive the residence status F. There are different grounds to denying you asylum. These are set out in articles 53 and 54 of the Asylum Act, AsylA.
– F permit (temporarily accepted person): If your expulsion to your country of origin is not admissible on legal grounds, undue or impossible, you will obtain the F status. This is not a residence permit, but a confirmation that your expulsion is not possible for now.
We have provided further information on the following topics: change of canton, work permits, insurance, family reunification, right to social assistance, settling in with your status.
– Swiss Refugee Council (available in German, French and English)
Social assistance is administered at canton level. Attribution guidelines are set out by SKOS (available in German, French and Italian), the Swiss Association of Welfare Organisations. However, these are not binding. Social assistance is based around the principle of subsidiarity. This means social services will only pay out social assistance if there is no other way to cover your costs. Social assistance covers basic needs only.
The F status (temporarily accepted refugee) or the B residence permit (recognised refugee) give you the same rights to touch benefits as the Swiss population. You have a right to benefit from integration measures.
Financial support for individuals with the N status (asylum seeker) or F status (temporarily accepted person) is far below what Swiss nationals can receive (around 40% less). Temporarily accepted persons have a right to integration measures. Asylum seekers (N status) have no right to integration measures. There are however cases where integration measures will be granted.
Social assistance can only be discontinued if it is replaced by emergency assistance. This is the case when you receive the definitive decision to have your asylum application dismissed (Dublin system) or a ruling on your expulsion.
- Social assistance
Written decision or ruling
As a matter of principle:
– You always have the right to receive the written decision in your case within an appropriate space of time.
– Finding a solution is always preferable to entering a legal dispute.
A decision taken by your adviser and affecting your circumstances entitles you to receive a written decision or explanation outlining on what grounds the decision was taken. This document should be dated and signed. However, this is far from common practice. You should however make a point to request this document.
What can I do if I disagree with the decision taken by my adviser?
You should initially discuss the situation with your adviser. Explain your view of things, whilst also trying to understand the decision. Your adviser is in an equally difficult position: They are unable to fund everything they might want to support.
If you are unable to reach an agreement in the course of this conversation and if you get the impression that the decision is not well justified, you have means to oppose the decision. You can appeal against the decision. NB: An appeal creates costs for legal proceedings. These costs are paid for by the party that loses the case. A law clinic or legal aid office can advise you on the prospects of your appeal and how to go about it.
An appeal can touch different aspects, e.g. the conditions you are asked to meet, the restrictions that have been imposed or the amount of benefits and/or assistance you receive.
You will need access to the written decision in order to appeal. It is also important that you observe the deadline of 30 days following the date specified on the written decision or ruling.
Definition: A sanction is a type of punishment.
If you fail to adhere to the restrictions in your capacity as benefit recipient, you might be subject to sanctions, e.g. for not declaring your income or failing to observe the decision taken by a social worker or adviser. You need to have been notified in advance: Doing (or failing to do) something means action will be taken against you.
You might for instance see your benefits or social support reduced provided that your basic rights will still be safeguarded. Social services can reduce benefits by up to a maximum of 30 %.
Benefits are reduced under the following circumstances.
What should I do when I receive money from a third party?
Duty to declare and provide financial information
NB: Receiving money from individuals, organisations or trusts is counted as income by social services. It is compulsory that you declare the overall amount to social services so make sure to let your adviser know. This is also the case for small donations or cash gifts. They might be deducted from the social assistance you receive.
If you fail to declare your income, you can see your benefits reduced. Your failure to notify the authorities is enough to be reported on the grounds of a criminal offence. It is possible to be expulsed from Switzerland on the basis of two criminal offences. Make sure to always notify authorities about your income.
This is the best way to be supported:
Money you receive should always represent a contribution towards a specific purpose. Ideally, the money is not directly paid out to you. Instead, your supporter covers costs on your behalf, e.g. they pay for your language classes. They can also reimburse you for expenses: They might pay your travel costs or tuition fees. Make sure to get a receipt or a confirmation of the bank transfer which specifies the date. This means you are able to prove what the money has been spent on.
- This is the best way to be supported:
Crowdfunding is associated with a number of difficulties, mainly that the money is not tied to a specific purpose. You will therefore have to declare this as a source of income and the amount might be deducted from social assistance. If you are involved in a project of this kind, make sure to discuss this with your adviser.
As a matter of principle, social services only support your course in exceptional circumstances. It is mainly scholarships and bursaries which can help you fund your course or training.
Once you receive a scholarship or bursary, you should expect your benefits to be capped or reduced. You cannot receive your bursary in addition to benefits.
Eligibility for bursaries depends on a number of different factors.
– Your previous education: Secondary training is usually not supported.
– Your income (and your parents’ income if they are resident in Switzerland)
– Your canton of residence
– The length of time you have been resident in the canton
– Your residence status
Refugees (B permit and F status)
Recognised refugees and (B permit) and temporarily accepted refugees (F status) are in principle eligible for bursaries. This means you can apply for a bursary if you also meet the other requirements.
Not everyone is aware of the difference between temporarily accepted persons and temporarily accepted refugees. Click here to learn more about the F status. You can attach the information provided by the Refugee Council when making an application.
Temporarily accepted persons
If you are a temporarily accepted person (F), there is no statutory right for a bursary.
According to an intercantonal agreement regulating the eligibility for bursaries in all cantons, you need to either have a permanent residence permit (C permit) or have a permit to show that you have been granted residence for five years in Switzerland.
Many cantons allocate bursaries to temporarily admitted refugees (F permit). It is worth checking if your canton is one of them. Having lived in Switzerland for five years, your chances will generally be better.
Asylum seekers (N permit)
Asylum seekers (N permit) have little prospects of receiving a bursary, though there are some exceptions. Check with the local authorities and retain the document stating that you have been unsuccessful. When you are seeking financial support, this will be proof that you have no means of funding your studies through a bursary.
- Refugees (B permit and F status)
There is no statutory right to study. Higher education institutions in Switzerland are responsible for the admissions process. Some institutions will consider your residence permit as part of their decision, others make their decision regardless of your residence status. Most higher education institutions do not refuse admissions on the ground of your legal status. Check with the institution of your choice.
The Geneva convention rules that refugees (B permit and F status) cannot be excluded from studying on the grounds of their residence status.
Conseil juridique: EPER
Les Bureaux de consultation juridique sont là pour conseiller et répondre aux questions sur la procédure d’asile en Suisse ou d’autres questions de droit. Les personnes pauvres ou socialement défavorisées sont au centre de l’action de l’EPER, tout comme quiconque a un statut de réfugié ou de requérant d’asile, vit en Suisse sans titre de séjour ou est victime de discrimination ou de racisme – donc toute personne vulnérable, atteinte dans ses droits et socialement marginalisée.
Conseil juridique: OSAR
Pour une procédure d’asile plus équitable et rapide nous offrons une consultation juridique gratuite au téléphone pendant nos heures de permanence juridique. Vous pouvez nous appeler les mardis et jeudis après-midi de 14h à 17h. Un formulaire de contact est également disponible en ligne.
Haben Sie Fragen zum Asylverfahren in der Schweiz? Brauchen Sie sonst rechtliche Beratung? Oder sind Sie von Diskriminierung und rassistischen Äusserungen betroffen? HEKS bietet in verschiedenen Bereichen rechtliche Beratung und Unterstützung. Im Zentrum unserer Tätigkeit stehen sozial benachteiligte Personen wie Asylsuchende und Flüchtlinge, Sans-Papiers oder Menschen mit geringem Einkommen sowie Personen, die Diskriminierung erleiden. Sie alle sind besonders gefährdet, in ihren Rechten verletzt und gesellschaftlich ausgegrenzt zu werden.
Wir bieten Ihnen telefonisch Rechtsauskünfte für faire und schnelle Asylverfahren während unserer juristischen Sprechstunde. Sie können uns am Dienstag- und Donnerstagnachmittag jeweils von 14 bis 17 Uhr anrufen. Ein Kontaktformular ist auch verfügbar.
Conseil juridique: Caritas
Caritas propose également du Conseil juridique, tu trouveras plus d'informations en te rendant sur le site web du Caritas de ta région: trouve le site web ici.