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 population.
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 privileges:
“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 soon integrate:
“The majority of Somalis are well- integrated and naturalized in recent years.”