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Switzerland to extend protected status for Ukrainian refugees until March 2025

by Nate Ostiller November 1, 2023 2:59 PM 2 min read
The Federal Palace, Switzerland's parliament building, in Bern, Switzerland, March 2023. (Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The temporary protected status for Ukrainian refugees in Switzerland will be extended until at least March 2025, the Swiss Federal Council announced on Nov. 1.

The "S" protection status allows Ukrainians "in need" to stay in the country "as long as they are exposed to a serious general danger" and also provides a variety of state services, including access to housing and subsistence subsidies.

The Swiss government said that around 66,000 Ukrainians have the "S" protection status as of the end of October 2023.

In addition, the Swiss government said that they aim to increase the integration of Ukrainians, especially into the local labor market.

Currently, about 20% of Ukrainians with protection status S are employed, but Switzerland seeks to double this figure by the end of 2024.

The government has allocated CHF 3,000 ($3,300) per person, per year, to assist in the labor integration process, particularly for language classes.

Switzerland's announcement comes around two weeks after the EU officially extended the temporary protected status for Ukrainians until March 2025.

Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, it is part of the Schengen Zone, and as such, the Federal Council said it was "vital to coordinate closely with the EU."

Switzerland's government shifted right after parliamentary elections on Oct. 23, but it is unclear how that might impact the country's position towards Ukraine.

The Swiss parliament has repeatedly voted against proposals to amend the rules regarding the re-export of Swiss-made weapons to Ukraine.

Switzerland has also blocked the transfer of Swiss-made Leopard 1 tanks currently in Italy to Ukraine.

Due to the country's historic policy of neutrality, the law does not currently allow the delivery of Swiss weapons to combat zones, even when supplied by an intermediary country.

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