The war concerns civilians who are forced to flee to different countries of Europe. According to the latest figures, over 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine in search of a safe place. Switzerland, including Ticino, also plays its part in the welcome. In order to present in detail the plan of the cantonal reception and participation (civil protection of Cadenazzo, where about 20 refugees have already arrived), the Council of State convened a press conference this morning. Present were Government President Manuele Bertoli (Decs) and State Councilors Raffaele De Rosa (Dss) and Norman Gobbi (Di).
Around 450 people arrived
Europe is big, but hospitality works when everyone does their part. Ticino is committed to a number of fronts: providing concrete assistance with important fundraising events, spontaneous initiatives that we try to channel effectively and the reception of refugees. On Friday, the Confederation recalled the protection statute S, which provides for a speedy administrative process. Estimates of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) speak of a thousand people coming to Switzerland every day, or about 40 people in Ticino. To date, it is estimated that there are 200 people living in our territory and 250 in the Federal Asylum Center (CAF) in Chiasso.
“Guarantee the best welcome”
“We have been watching the conflict with great fear and our task is to prepare everything possible for these people who come out of this conflict,” Bertoli emphasized. In short, Ticino is ready to do his part, above all – explains the director of the Dss – to ensure the best possible welcome and support during the stay. With the pandemic not over yet, this conflict confronts us “with a test of solidarity but it is in these situations that the role of the population becomes crucial”.
Three phases of the reception plan
The reception plan is divided into three phases and aims to encourage a fast and structured but also flexible reception. “This common commitment is aimed at the main purpose for which we are here today: to provide security and human warmth for people fleeing Ukraine,” De Rosa reiterated. There are two main ways people flee to reach Ticino. On the one hand the reception of private individuals who have the opportunity to greet them (friends, relatives, acquaintances), on the other hand individually or collectively, but without special connections to our territory.
It is important in Chiasso for the status of S
Regardless of the arrival mode, all refugees arriving from Ukraine can apply for protection at one of the Federal Asylum Centers (in Ticino it is in Chiasso). By advertising in the center of Chiasso, the procedures for obtaining the S status are given, the procedure is quick and without too many bureaucratic complications. It is also necessary to take these steps for those who arrived in Ticino through contacts with friends or family, as it initiates the procedure of the statute S. This first part, recalls De Rosa, is mainly managed by Sem. If the people are formally assigned to the canton, after the accommodation in Chiasso which should not last more than 24 hours, if no private accommodation is found by whoever has advertised on the platform at Campax, the refugees reach the cantonal election point (PAF) to Cadenazzo in civil protection.
Welcome to the PAF in Cadenazzo
At the cantonal reception center, located in Cadenazzo, administrative and information procedures are completed, assessments of the main needs are carried out, taking into account the offer of health, psychological and spiritual assistance. The stay in the center of Cadenazzo is for a maximum of three days (72 hours) and at the administrative level everything is needed. The help offered to the PAF, explains the director of the DSS, will also be guaranteed to people living with friends or family, it is important that these people register with the PAF.
Final accommodation Ukrainians
The third phase of the cantonal reception plan provides for the final accommodation of Ukrainians. People are transferred to collective regional centers (the first identified with 60 beds is that of Aurigeno-Ronchini in the Valley of Maggia), while people with specific needs can be placed in social and health structures. In the regional centers, it is then understood whether individual rental housing, hospitality and private housing or collective accommodation will be available. Therefore, the government invited private individuals to comment. “The map of available accommodation is still in progress, independent accommodation for exclusive use is preferred,” emphasizes De Rosa.
“A devastating experience”
In any case, much depends on the time and on the participation and with this cantonal plan the government said it would be convinced that it has laid the foundations so that the people can guarantee everything they need. “These people are going through a devastating and traumatic experience, both through the bombings at home and through the crazy journey,” the director of the DSS concludes.
The Protective Statute S, as decided by the Federal Council, is a new application of a base that was established in the 1990s and the Confederation wanted to enact this statute more carefully.
Who is it for?
The director of the Department of Institutions Gobbi stresses that the S status applies to all Ukrainian citizens and their family members living in Ukrainians before February 24, 2022. One of the most important aspects regarding the S permit is the direct opportunity to work as an employee. . “This must be communicated to the migration office through the employer to control wages and working conditions,” Gobbi points out.
The Confederation, the cantons and the communes play key roles in this humanitarian emergency. In Ticino, when these people were verified at the entrance, about 5% are attributed to our canton. “Communes are an essential element and play an important role of proximity. It is important to know who is arriving and where. I invite these people to go to Chiasso for the S-status which is not automatic but must be asked for, “Gobbi recalls.
School for young Ukrainians
The people fleeing Ukraine are mainly families of mothers and children. The men mostly stayed in the country to fight. The children who are victims of this conflict who arrive in our canton, underlined the director of Decs Bertoli, have the right to continue their education. “The numbers are high and we have to think of a fairly widespread system for the school, because with a large number of people a concentration of these children is not conceivable. It would mean creating temporary schools for which we staff not ready, “said Bertoli. So the DECS needs to think about the collation in the area so that the ordinary structures take care of these children. “Families with school-age children need to be divided throughout the territory, placing them in a rational and adequate manner,” he added. Reflections are also made for the elderly, between 15 and 18 years. “The Ukrainian system provides schooling until the age of 18. We need to understand what they want to do, taking into account school skills and for this reason in Cadenazzo, a person is being written to understand this school environment.”
Medium or long term stay
Probably the stay of these people will be at least medium duration and will also include the next school year. Inside the department, he added, they think about how the summer period is used for a series of jobs. Finally, a final element is the possibility of recruiting staff from Ukraine. “Among those who have arrived in Ticino, there are certainly people who know European languages and have the skills to work in schools, this would help to welcome them into the school system,” Bertoli concluded.
The canton, we recall, has created a helpline to reach all the population’s questions about refugees, which can be reached on 0800 194 194.