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(Epoch Times) Switzerland: Fraudulent family reunion from Eritrea - community Aarburg in existential distress

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Sunday, 01 April 2018

Switzerland: Fraudulent family reunion from Eritrea - community Aarburg in existential distress


By Steffen Munter March 30, 2018 Updated: March 30, 2018 18:49

Around 80 percent of Eritrean refugees in Switzerland live on welfare benefits. But that does not stop them from traveling to their home country on holiday, the country from which they fled under danger. But even when family reunion is tricked, a light, if you enter without papers ...

Switzerland FlagPhoto: Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Family reunification is also a hot topic in Switzerland. In 2017, 4,208 people entered the Confederation in this context. Compared to the previous year, this was a third more and at the same time the highest value in ten years.

80 percent were children. They were made up by recognized refugees and provisionally admitted, reported the "Basler Zeitung" . The remaining 20 percent were mainly spouses. More than half of the relatives arrived from Eritrea.

A strange family

But as the "BaZ" writes, would accumulate for some time, evidence that many of the incoming persons are not members of the refugees living in Switzerland. There are only a few cases known to the public, but it is said that there is a lot of cheating, covered by data protection.

The sheet got the prosecutor's office Aargau insight into a case in which issued a penalty order. Asylum seekers purposely deceived the authorities in order to obtain the relocation of false family members: An Eritrean, who entered without a document in 2008, applied for asylum. Although his identity could not be verified, his proposal was approved in 2010.

In 2011, his life partner and a supposedly common little daughter came by plane. The woman had previously obtained a visa at the Swiss Embassy in Ethiopia under a false name and with an incorrect date of birth. She and the girl also received refugee status in Switzerland. In a survey, the couple made an alleged common son, then 13 years old. In 2013, he traveled to Switzerland on his own, also under a false name, as recommended by his alleged mother in Switzerland. He was also recognized as a refugee.

Social fraud as a profession

All lived from welfare in the municipality Aarburg in the canton of Aargau.

Later it turned out that the girl is indeed the daughter of the Eritrean, but not the wife. The alleged son, however, was the brother of his alleged father. So that the age difference did not attract attention, the woman at that time had made herself ten years older at the Swiss embassy in Ethiopia.

Through the wrong son, the "family" got more social assistance and also the full refund of the rent of the apartment in the amount of 1,210 francs per month.

Until the age of majority of the "son" in 2016, this alone caused damage of around 14,000 francs to the community. But that's not all. As adult carers, the wrong son continued to collect from the community, about 1,800 francs a month, a total of about 21,600 francs.

 Existence-threatening care

As the "Blick"  reported in February, the municipality of Aarburg has now made headlines as its social assistance expenditures continue to rise, threatening the community's existence. A third of Aarburg's annual tax revenue of 17 million francs was spent on caring for 400 people in 2016, about 5.7 million francs.

The front-runner is an Iraqi family living in Aarburg since 2004. So far, the four persons have received 580,000 francs in social assistance, as the "Blick" compiled a table.

"Hard" punishment? None

In February, the public prosecutor's office in Aargau sentenced the Eritrean to six months' imprisonment, ie probation, for fraud and deception of the authorities. As a fine 1,500 francs were imposed on him. With this and the fee for the penalty order and other expenses, the Eritrean came to a payable amount of 6,750 francs.

The newspaper assumes in her report that the Eritrean need not pay this fine, since he lives on welfare anyway. The "BaZ" suspects that the probation also will not leave a big impression, as these "on people from cultures, where there is a much tougher interaction, often have little effect."

Holiday of the "persecuted" in the homeland

In January 20107, the  "BaZ" reported on mass home leave from people who fled Eritrea in their homeland. The people who live mostly in Switzerland from social welfare (4 out of 5), are in their country where they allegedly and according to the refugee policy of Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga "life and limb threatened" are welcome foreign currency, so the largest daily newspaper in the Space Basel.

However, there are no flights from Zurich directly to Eritrea, which is why the "persecuted" mostly fly over an intermediate station, eg Istanbul. From there we continue to Carthum, the capital of Sudan or to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Every day about 50 people would leave Switzerland in the direction of one of the neighboring countries of Eritrea, costing around CHF 650 per round trip.

From there you can take a bus to Eritrea or a one-hour flight to the Eritrean capital Asmara.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), it is difficult to prove these indirect journeys. It checks around 20 such cases annually, it was called "BaZ", so just under half of the daily travelers to the region.

Hurray, the passport is back

According to SEM, it is also difficult because the traveling refugees, in addition to the documents issued in Switzerland, would use their native documents for the trip.

Most of the Eritreans, according to the report, have no passport in the asylum procedure. But in a miraculous way he is back when traveling to the "dangerous" homeland. This obviously means that they are keeping their passports concealed from the Swiss authorities or that they are getting new ones at the Eritrean consulate in Geneva.

Three years ago, the NZZ had already discovered that Eritrea's representation in Switzerland with the Eritrean community in Europe not only collects taxes for the homeland, but also organizes travel there in order to obtain foreign exchange.

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