Switzerland & Cote d’Ivoire Sign Several Agreements to Regulate & Combat Illegal Migration

Switzerland and Cote d’Ivoire have signed three agreements regarding migration during a visit the Interior and Security Minister of the African country, Vagondo Diomandé, paid last week in the Swiss capital.

According to a press release issued by the Swiss Confederation, these agreements aim to strengthen both parties’ relations simultaneously and combat illegal migration in their respective interest, reports.

The agreements signed by the Federal Councilor, Karin Keller-Sutter and Minister Diomande were approved by the Swiss Council in September, with particular stress on the migration area.

The first agreement aims to help the Côte d’Ivoire police cope with migration issues, as the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) offers them greater support in managing and tackling projects on site, including human trafficking.

Furthermore, the second agreement includes a Memorandum of Understanding that determines the procedures for the identification and readmission procedures of Ivorian migrants illegally residing in the Swiss territory.

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“It aims to formalize the cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire, which generally works well at the operational level. The aim is to facilitate the practical organization of the return, namely the identification modalities and the issuing of replacement documents,” the press release explained.

Lastly, the third agreement enabled the mutual abolishment of the visa requirement for diplomatic or service passport holders.

To date, Switzerland has signed agreements on ​​returning migrants with a total of 64 countries.  In addition, the number of asylum applications lodged by Ivorian nationals for residence permits in Switzerland has been low for several years, with 140 of those being registered in 2020. Still, the same figure remains high in the rest of the 27-nation-bloc.

In particular, according to Schengen Statistics, the Swiss embassy in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, in 2020, has received 2,106 visa applications, with 1,636 of those being issued and 423 of those being denied, accounting for 20.09 per cent of the total.

However, the European health authorities currently do not recommend travelling to Switzerland, as the country, just like the rest of the European continent, is experiencing a spike in positive cases with COVID-19.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that positive cases in Switzerland have reached 34,252 cases in the last seven days and 60 deaths related to the virus, taking the death tolls to a total of 11,022.

Moreover, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently revealed that the epidemiological situation in the EU member states has never been as serious, as several countries have reintroduced tight national and travel rules.

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