A shocking investigation has revealed many asylum seekers are returning to their homeland, despite claiming their lives would be “threatened” if they were forced to return home.
Four out of five Eritreans in Switzerland are claiming state benefits.
The revelation reinforces the growing problem caused by the fact refugees are allowed to leave the country for 21 days a year, but are not obliged to say where they are going.
The investigation, carried out by Swiss-German newspaper BaZ, revealed how dozens of Eritrean families arrived at Zurich-Kloten airport to travel home.
Many have travel vouchers as refugees or as temporary residents, who can stay in Switzerland despite a rejected asylum application.
However, their trip does not lead directly to Eritrea because such flights are not available from Zurich, but to Istanbul.
From there, they travel to the Sudanese capital Khartoum or to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, according to boarding cards seen by BaZ.
There are up to fifty people leaving Switzerland daily and flying to a neighbouring country of Eritrea, the investigation found. In Sudan or Ethiopia, the Eritreans will then get on a bus, which will take them to their home within a few days.
There are also flights from Khartoum, which land in the Eritrean capital Asmara after an hour.
Outward and return flights via Istanbul cost around 650 francs during the most busy season in summer. Currently they are available for 599 francs.
The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said it was difficult to determine who was going to Eritrea through a neighbouring country because there are no direct flights.
Switzerland is struggling to cope as it fast becomes the route of choice for migrants trying to enter Germany after the Balkan countries sealed off their borders.
More asylum seekers make their way to Germany from Italy via Switzerland after the European Union sealed a deal with Turkey to accept migrants back who made the journey across the Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece.