– Switzerland is also considering stopping the disbursement of funds to asylum seekers
The introduction of a prepaid card for asylum seekers in Germany is also arousing interest in Switzerland. The federal government studies the need and the vice president takes action.
In Germany, it was recently decided to stop paying cash to asylum seekers from the summer onwards. Instead, they get a prepaid card with credit. The aim is to deter economic refugees who send part of the social benefits they receive back to their home country. According to NZZ, Switzerland should also address this issue.
A prepaid card in Germany is intended to work like a regular debit card when paying in everyday life. However, transfers are not possible, as they are not linked to an account. This is to ensure that the money received from the state is spent only on itself.
SEM is achieved, and SVP is initiated at the cantonal level
The project seems to be of great interest in Switzerland: the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is already checking whether such debit cards are needed. However, the federal government only pays social assistance to asylum seekers until they are assigned to the cantons. In addition, migrants receive only 3 francs of pocket money per day in cash from the State Secretariat for Migration. The remainder comes primarily in the form of benefits in kind.
The Vice-President is therefore taking action at the cantonal level: similar proposals have already been made in Basel-Stadt and St. Gallen. Other cantons should follow suit. In addition, National Assembly member Mike Egger announced that he would also submit a similar proposal to Parliament.
The Senior Vice President has not yet identified the asylum categories for which the prepaid card may be suitable. But Iger told the newspaper that he could envisage “expanding this practice to include all people who came to Switzerland via the asylum route and receive money from the state.” This would also affect people with residence status B.
In Germany, the system is only designed for people who are still in the asylum application process. In addition, there are those who enjoy a “state of tolerance,” which here corresponds to “temporarily accepting.”
Opponents fear the “bureaucratic monster”
The cantons themselves react to this initiative differently. People in Basel-Stadt are skeptical because the principle is that contributions to basic needs should be freely available. This can be affected here. In addition, it is difficult to impose further restrictions on a target group whose amounts of funds are well below the subsistence level. But in Aargau, the responsible administration describes the idea as “interesting”.
Opponents of the initiative can be found in the left camp: Selin Widmer, national advisor for the Socialist Party, told Blick that she sees a lot of extra bureaucratic effort. Damian Müller, the FDP's state council, even warned of a “bureaucratic monster” that will not solve any problems. You can simply send goods home instead of money.