HEKS/EPER now responsible for asylum regions of north-western and eastern Switzerland

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has awarded the mandates for the counselling and legal representation of asylum seekers in federal asylum centres as from March 2019.
Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER) has been awarded the legal protection mandates in the asylum regions of north-western and eastern Switzerland.

For HEKS/EPER, the simultaneous award of two mandates is confirmation and recognition of and a vote of confidence in decades of experience and know-how in legal advice for asylum seekers. HEKS/EPER also views the mandates as an obligation to continue the crucial task of ensuring a constitutional and humane asylum procedure. The acceptance of the legal protection mandates means that the necessary personnel (lawyers/counsellors/administrative staff) must now be recruited and prepared for their vital responsibilities.

The revised asylum law takes effect on 1 March 2019. As of that time, asylum applications will be processed by means of an accelerated procedure. During their stay at a federal asylum centre, asylum seekers will have access to counselling about the asylum procedure and will be informed of their rights and duties in the asylum process. Besides, each asylum seeker will be assigned legal representation as from the very start of the preparatory phase. The legal representatives will also act as the authorized representatives of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers present in federal asylum centres.

The Confederation had put these mandates up for tender in July 2018. Among other things, bidders were required to provide evidence of their economic capacity and experience relevant to the mandate. They were also required to present a concept of the way they conduct counselling and legal representation, how they handle fluctuations in the numbers of asylum applications, how they organize basic and/or continuing personnel training and how interpreting services are to be provided.

Dieter Wüthrich
Head of Media and Information Department
Dieter Wüthrich

Phone: +41 44 360 88 66
Mobile: +41 76 461 88 70
E-mail: dieter.wuethrich@heks.ch