Switzerland and Cote d’Ivoire signed three agreements on migration during a visit by the African country’s Minister of Interior and Security, Fagondo Diomande, last week in the Swiss capital.
According to a press release from the Swiss Confederation, these agreements aim to simultaneously strengthen relations between the two parties and combat illegal immigration in their interest, TheSchengen.com reports.
The agreements signed by Federal Chancellor Karin Keeler-Sutter and Minister Diomandi were approved by the Swiss Council in September, with a particular focus on the area of migration.
The first agreement aims to help the Ivory Coast police deal with immigration issues, with the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) providing them with greater support in managing and handling projects on site, including human trafficking.
Moreover, the second agreement includes a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out the procedures for the identification and readmission of Ivorian migrants illegally residing in Swiss territory.
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It aims to formalize cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire, which is generally doing well at the operational level. The press release explained that the goal is to facilitate the practical organization of returns, that is, methods of identification and the issuance of alternative documents.
Finally, the third agreement made it possible for the mutual cancellation of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic or service passports.
So far, Switzerland has signed agreements on returning migrants with a total of 64 countries. In addition, the number of asylum applications by Côte d’Ivoire citizens for residence permits in Switzerland has been low for several years, with 140 registered in 2020. However, the same number is still high in the rest of the 27 EU countries. .
In particular, according to Schengen statistics, the Swiss embassy in the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, in 2020, received 2,106 visa applications, of which 1,636 were issued and 423 were rejected, accounting for 20.09 percent of the total.
However, European health authorities do not currently recommend travel to Switzerland, as the country, just like the rest of the European continent, is experiencing a rise in positive cases of COVID-19.
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World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that positive cases in Switzerland reached 34,252 in the past seven days and 60 deaths linked to the virus, bringing the death toll to 11,022.
Moreover, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently revealed that the epidemiological situation in the EU member states was not that severe, with many countries reintroducing strict national rules and travel rules.