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Swiss voters tighten restrictions on immigrants, asylum seekers

[JURIST] Nearly 70 percent of Swiss voters [results, in French] Sunday approved new laws that limit immigration and asylum seeking [Federal Office for Migration backgrounders] in the country. The laws, passed by the Swiss parliament [official website] last year, require foreigners to produce valid travel documents within 48 hours or risk rejection. Those who have been rejected but who refuse to leave the country could face up to two years in prison.

The laws also limit immigrants from outside of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association [official website] to highly skilled workers. The United Nations refugee agency [official website] (UNHCR) has already criticized the new laws as too severe [UNHCR press release]. Those who support the new laws say they are necessary to prevent migrants from abusing the system. The Swiss parliament has voted nine times since 1984 to limit asylum seeking; five of the measures were approved by the electorate. Swissinfo has more.

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