The Federal Statistical Office and
the State Secretariat for Migration released data that revealed 80% of Somalis
living in Switzerland are enjoying life on welfare. Other African migrant groups rely on state
income as well. These nationalities include Eritreans at 54.7 percent and
Angolans at 54 per cent.
The figures are in stark contrast
with the number of Swiss nationals on welfare who only make up 2.3 % of the
Meanwhile, Japanese migrants who
depend on welfare account for 0.6% of the population. Also low are the Irish at 0.9 % and
Australians ay 1 %.
Damian Müller of the Swiss Liberals
(FDP) shared his belief that this was a clear sign of abuse of state
“The figures show that both far too
many asylum seekers who are not qualified for asylum were living on state
handouts and that not enough was being done to integrate those with refugee
status into the Swiss economy.
“Integration is not a one-way street.
Refugees are [also] responsible.”
The Swiss Federal Government is
endorsing Agenda for Integration – a program of the Confederation and the
cantons where refugees are integrated with those who have been temporarily
admitted in order to substantially decrease the cost of social assistance.
Some of the program’s objectives are
proficiency in national language after three years and integration into the
labor market after seven years.
In order to fast track the
implementation of the agenda, the Federal Government’s flat-rate integration
package to the cantons will be tripled to more than 132 million francs a year.
Bachir Gobdon of the Somali Diaspora
association believes that the high rates of welfare in the Somali community can
be attributed to the average family size:
“Many still have the status of
provisional residents for a period of ten or more years. For example, they work
in the hospitality industry, where wages are low. A family that has seven
children, for example, cannot live on it.”
Gobdon expects that the Somalis will
“The majority of Somalis
are well- integrated and naturalized in recent years.”