Switzerland has become the 15th EU/Schengen country that has moved Georgia in the category of safe countries. From October this year, Georgia will join the list of safe countries where are already listed the EU and EFTA countries, as well as Albania, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Moldova (excluding Transnistria), Mongolia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Senegal and Serbia
According to the portal of the Federal Council, key criteria for designating a country as a “safe country” are, in particular, respect for human rights, political stability and the assessments of other EU and EFTA states and the UNHCR, what Georgia is now considered now by Switzerland and 14 other countries.
“From 1 October 2019, Georgia will be considered a safe country and a country of origin, to which a return of rejected asylum seekers is in principle reasonable. At its meeting on 28 August 2019, the Federal Council supplemented the list of safe-keeping states and the list of reasonable return states accordingly,” a statement by the Federal Council reads.
This means that from October and on an accelerated procedure will be used in the consideration of asylum applications filed by Georgian citizens.
“The conditions are fulfilled to designate Georgia as a state to which a return is in principle reasonable. This makes the signposting easier, for example after a negative asylum decision,” the statement reads.
Since Georgia signed a visa-free regime agreement with the Schengen member countries in 2017, large numbers of asylum seekers have been filing asylum requests in the EU and Schengen members. Switzerland has taken several measures to prevent Georgians from filing unfounded asylum applications including banning apparently unfounded requests and strengthening the protection of external borders.
Cyprus, Bulgaria, France, Lichtenstein, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Iceland, Luxembourg, Ireland, Estonia, Denmark, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic have already recognized Georgia as a safe country.
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