What are some common greetings in Tamil


Low wages and few opportunities for advancement: According to a study, the Tamils ​​in Switzerland are more often affected by poverty than the average.

This content was published on January 30, 2008 - 2:05 pm

According to the study, the Swiss authorities are jointly responsible for the difficult situation in which many Tamil families find themselves. But obligations to relatives in Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers LTTE also contribute to this.

The three authors from the Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies (SFM) write in the study that they carried out on behalf of the Federal Office for Migration (FOM). carried out.

The share of the Sri Lankan workforce is therefore higher than the average share of the foreign workforce. However, according to the results of the 2000 Federal Census, 71% of Sri Lankan nationals are unskilled workers, mostly in the hotel and restaurant industry.

Little wages, little chance of advancement

As a result, a considerable number of families have very modest incomes. Your opportunities for advancement remain limited. This means that the risk of poverty is high.

Some who shy away from welfare even get caught in a debt trap. At the same time, there is less hope of returning home. All of these frustrations can lead to alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

Switzerland shares responsibility

The authors write that Switzerland is partly responsible for the difficult situation of many families. The authorities hesitated for a long time to give these people legal security. Her precarious socio-economic situation is strongly related to her insecure residence status.

Until 1994 only a minority of Tamils ​​were granted refugee status and only a small number of people were provisionally admitted. The others had to wait many years for an answer or their asylum application was rejected.

Most of them were only able to stabilize their legal situation from 2000 onwards. At that time, around 10,000 Sri Lankans received temporary residence permits as part of a humanitarian campaign.

Tamil Tigers and families

Members of the Tamil diaspora also often support their family members in Sri Lanka. These money transfers demand sacrifices from the families. Sometimes they need to take out loans and go into debt.

In addition, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are demanding tribute. People pay out of fear of reprisals or because they support the LTTE's ideology.

According to a conversation partner of the authors of the study, 500,000 francs flow from Switzerland to the LTTE every month.

In contrast to other countries, the rebel group is not banned in Switzerland. In 2006 she was put on the terror list in the EU.

Lasting consequences

According to the researchers, some of the first-generation Tamils ​​run the risk of permanently suffering from the consequences of these early years. Only for the second generation do the future prospects look better.

Today, over 90% of the 32,000 non-naturalized Sri Lankan residents have a residence or permanent residence permit. 10,000 have a Swiss passport.

In total, 90 to 95% of the Tamil minority are counted, the rest of the Sinhalese majority.

Status with risk

The problem of a lack of integration opportunities will therefore remain in the future. The preliminary admission has been slightly improved since 2005, says the spokesman for Swiss Refugee Aid (SFH), Yann Golay.

Access to the labor market and integration measures have been made easier. Nevertheless, this status also carries the risk of poor integration and a lack of career opportunities.

swissinfo and Corinne Dobler, sda


Around 43,000 people from Sri Lanka live in Switzerland. Most of them belong to the Tamil minority.

10,000 now have a Swiss passport.

Over 90% of non-citizens have a residence or settlement permit.

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Increase in asylum applications

With the end of the armistice at the beginning of January, more refugees from Sri Lanka are expected in Switzerland.

According to the Federal Office for Migration (FOM), the number of asylum applications had already risen to 618 in 2007, compared to 328 in the previous year.

92 people were granted asylum in 2007, 91 were temporarily admitted.

144 received a negative decision, 58 a non-acceptance decision.

508 asylum decisions were pending at the end of 2007.

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