Switzerland Amends Its Laws to Prepare for New Biometric Schengen Border Controls

with the new Schengen Area border control systems, known as the Entry-Exit System (EES), which is set to become operational next year.

According to a press release of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration, the decision has been taken at the meeting of the Federal Council on November 10, while the changes to the Aliens and Integration Act will become effective on May 1, 2022, reports.

From 2022, the data of third-country nationals entering the Schengen area for a short stay will be recorded electronically. To this end, a Europe-wide information system is being introduced (Entry / Exit System, EES). At its meeting on November 10, 2021, the Federal Council decided to bring the necessary changes to the Aliens and Integration Act into effect on May 1, 2022,” the State Secretariat for Migration notes in its press release.

It further explains that once the Entry-Exit System becomes operational, it will increase security in the Schengen Area while also making the border control more efficient through the use of modern technologies that will automate numerous procedures in this regard.

The system is set to operate at the international airports in Switzerland, and it will also be used by the migration and police authorities.

The State Secretariat for Migration also explains that the majority of provisions of the EES are directly applicable, and thus, the same do not require implementation in Swiss law. However, the case is not the same when it comes to the Aliens and Integration Act which needed certain provisions in order to become more concrete and align with the EES regulatory.

Parliament already passed the changes at the legislative level in June 2019, and the subsequent referendum period has expired without being used,” the press release explains, reiterating that “the necessary changes to the Aliens and Integration Act and the associated implementing provisions into force on May 1, 2022.”

The EES is an automated IT system which starting from next year, which will register all arrivals into the block from third countries. The system will register both short-stay visa holders and visa-exempt travellers each time they cross an EU external border when entering or leaving the block.

The system might, however, be delayed to the second half of 2022, as an EU internal document of October 20  drafted by the EU’s police agency Europol says that the EES has been running into trouble amid a slew of delays.

Yet, the eu-LISA, which is the European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, has already announced that air carriers, sea carriers, and international carriers transporting groups overland by coach can now get registered for the Entry/Exit System (EES) through the eu-LISA website.

The registration will make it possible for carriers to receive the necessary information so that they can prepare for these two systems.

At the same time, only this month, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) has finalized the Entry-Exit System (EES) pilot project at land borders, hosted by Spain and Bulgaria, which has stimulated the future of the EES environment by collecting and checking the required data, following the fundamental rights and personal data protection measures.

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