State authorities

State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)

The SEM determines under what circumstances a foreigner may enter and stay in Switzerland. It decides who is a refugee and granted asylum or an alternative form of protection and is, therefore, responsible for the asylum procedure. You can find more information on the website of the SEM.

Cantonal authorities

Cantonal authorities are in charge of, inter alia, issuing residence and work permits for foreigners, providing social assistance, integrating foreigners and enforcing removal orders. Which authority is responsible varies from canton to canton –authorities often include the migration authorities, social services and labour market authorities.

An overview of the responsible cantonal authorities can be found here. Contact points for integration in the cantons and cities can be found here.


Each canton is divided into municipalities, which also have certain responsibilities. The competences of the municipalities vary in each canton. For example, in certain cantons the municipalities are responsible for the accommodation of provisionally admitted persons.

Related information

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