Details announced of new asylum-seeker transit centre

Plans for a new transit centre to accommodate 150 asylum-seekers, or even 250 under exceptional circumstances, are taking shape.

The current transit station on Zugerstrase was built in 1991 and only intended as a temporary building. Not surprisingly, it is not in a good condition, with damp evident in the floors and walls, which could represent a danger to health. In addition to this, the approach is not suitable for vehicles of the emergency services and the building is not easy for police to monitor. While upgrading was considered, it was decided to build a new centre at a cost of CHF 15.6 million.

The new building will contain 12 flats for eight people and nine others able to accommodate six each, in addition to a quarantine flat and space for sporting facilities outside. The building itself will consist of a four-storey and five-storey parts set at an angle adjacent to an inner courtyard. It will be kept under surveillance at all times but designed in such a way that no additional security staff will be needed.

It is hoped that, with a new system of dealing with asylum-seekers, their applications will be able to be processed in a quicker way, the refugees’ rights taken into consideration at all times. Indeed, it is hoped to be able to process 60 per cent of all application within 140 days. Those whose applications are turned down (by state authority) will be sent back.

At present, the canton of Zug is expected to accommodate 1.4 per cent of all asylum-seekers in the country. Back in 2017, the authorities here were warned they could expect to welcome between 120-220 refugees a year. Out of interest, as of September 2018, there were 1,175 asylum-seekers accommodated here.

Nationally, the figure for those seeking asylum in Switzerland was at an 11-year low last year. However, bearing in mind the areas of conflict in the Middle East and Africa, the situation is unpredictable.

Since the publication of these details about the new transit centre, which is not expected to be up and running before the end of 2024, the mayor of Steinhausen, Hans Staub, has expressed his concern that it could house as many as 250 asylum-seekers, after a maximum of 150 had been understood.

The photograph is for illustrative purposes only.

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