Zurich offering Ukrainian refugees 500 Swiss francs to return home
Ukrainian refugees in Canton Zurich are being offered 500 Swiss francs to return to Ukraine. The initiative aims to help Ukrainians who fled their home country return and resettle in Ukraine as part of Switzerland’s Return Assistance Programme for refugees.
Families of Ukrainian refugees can claim 500 Swiss francs per person
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Switzerland since the start of the conflict, with many of them choosing to seek refuge in the most populous (and international) Swiss cantons and Swiss cities, such as Zurich, Geneva and Bern. Now, families in Zurich can claim up to 2.000 francs in total, or 500 francs per person if they agree to return to Ukraine.
The money is being offered to Ukrainian refugees as part of Switzerland’s Return Assistance Programme, and some refugees have already signed up to accept the payment and return home. Refugees that choose to take part in the scheme are offered counselling and medical assistance to help them with the process of returning to Ukraine.
Switzerland's refugee return programme runs for refugees from any country, where applicants can claim up to 1.000 francs from the Swiss government depending on which country they are planning on returning to. For Ukrainians, the amount that can be claimed by individual refugees wishing to return to Ukraine is capped at 500 Swiss francs, while the maximum payment for whole families is 2.000 Swiss francs.
2.000 Ukrainians in Zurich have received S Permits
Around 2.000 Ukrainians in Zurich have already received S Permits, which allow Ukrainian citizens in need of protection to enter and stay provisionally in Switzerland, but not to leave and return again. The S Permit is valid for one year, but it can be extended, especially if the situation in Ukraine remains grave.
Zurich councillor Mario Fehr defended the return assistance programme from criticism, reiterating that the scheme is voluntary, and stating that it is focused on supporting those who wish to return, rather than pushing refugees to relocate. Zurich city councillor Raphael Golta agreed, adding that finding places for Ukrainian refugees has become more difficult in recent months.“We are planning with different variants and want to communicate in late summer. At best, container and tent settlements come into question," Golta said.