Campax does not make direct placements between host families and refugees, nor are we in charge of providing in-person support to host families and refugees. However, we are able to multiply and speed up the necessary processes by providing a matching software. To this end, we work closely with the Swiss Refugee Agency (SFH) and the authorities. They carry out the placement. Campax also provides host families and refugees with detailed information on various topics.
The successful placement of refugees with host families requires a great deal of knowledge and tact. This is not our core competence. With this division of tasks, host families and refugees benefit from an efficient placement as well as from the bundled know-how of the organisations involved. This is also the only way to ensure professional support after the placement.
Actively living the humanitarian tradition
It is time that we in Switzerland also do our part and help to alleviate the suffering of the consequences of war; as compassionate people, as a nation in the middle of Europe and not least as heirs of our country’s great humanitarian tradition. We can all contribute something. For example, by being prepared to take in refugees for the time of need. And by that we mean: At home, when the possibilities of the public authorities are not sufficient any longer.
Politics and authorities are responsible for the entry of refugees, we will share your willingness to accept refugees with the responsible regional or national officials if needed.
Support for Recipients and Hosts
Have you taken in one or more people or have you found a host and you are having problems? Are there discrepancies or severe communication difficulties?
Please contact the respective cantonal office for migration or the Swiss Refugee Agency:
+41 31 370 75 75
FAQ - Questions & Answers
What should I do if I have problems with the refugees I am hosting?
Both sides should feel comfortable and safe. We and/or partner organisations remain accessible to both sides. If the arrangement does not work out, we will try to find a solution. But please note: We are not the police! In case of criminal offences, we ask you but also the refugees to contact the police. Any (!) kind of harassment or abuse will NOT be tolerated.
What if I or anyone in my group shows signs of a COVID-19 infection?
If possible, the person should be isolated and provided with the bare necessities. Follow the instructions of the Federal Office of Public Health (see FOPH website on corona isolation). In the event of a severe course of the disease, contact medical professionals and, if necessary, organise transport to the nearest hospital.
What needs should be considered for accommodation?
A stable environment: be prepared to host the refugees for at least three months. Privacy: ideally, offer a lockable room or at least secluded room. Sanitary facilities: Access to bathroom and kitchen/cooking facilities are important. Openness: It is ideal if you, as a host, also set aside some time to help and support the refugees in their daily lives.
What are the special considerations when dealing with refugees?
All people are happy if they have enough privacy. For this reason, we only place people in flats with their own room. Many refugees have existential worries and are under a permanent strain. There is war in their country of origin and many relatives, friends and acquaintances are still in the crisis area. All people deal with this stressful situation differently. Although we are interested in the story of the refugees and would like to share it with them, the refugees should be able to address the issue on their own initiative. Especially stressful experiences are not something you want to share at any time. Refugees have often experienced a lot – in their country of origin and during their flight. Traumatisation may be present. Traumatisation and signs of post-traumatic stress disorder are often not immediately recognisable or clearly attributable. The Swiss Red Cross offers a lot of further information in different languages and professional support for those affected.
What needs to be considered for living together?
Basically, it is important to clarify mutual expectations. Approach the people with openness; living together must be able to develop without already being subject to overly rigid ideas. As in every shared apartment, new questions and discussions will certainly arise. Constructive solutions can certainly be found in mutual conversation and with understanding for the respective situation of the other person. Our experience from the host family projects during the Syria crisis shows that with an open attitude and clarification of expectations, this form of living together is perceived as a great benefit by all involved! In case of conflicts, the partner organisation is available as a first point of contact for advice.
How can we communicate with the refugees?
If you need an interpreter, you can use the Allianz hotline: +41 (0)58 358 50 00. Translations between Russian, Ukrainian and German are offered.
What about the costs (food, daily allowance, third party liability insurance)?
Refugees in the asylum procedure or protection status S are entitled to financial support from the state. Refugees without financial means who cannot travel back to their country are also entitled to social assistance regardless of their current (non-)registration. The exact amounts can be obtained from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
Do refugees have to have Swiss health insurance?
Ukrainians can stay in Switzerland for 3 months without a visa or permit, for example by staying with relatives or private individuals. In this case, the person is not subject to the compulsory health insurance. They may have travel insurance or their hosts may have taken out guest insurance. As soon as a person in need of protection reports to a federal asylum centre and submits an application for protection status S there, he or she will be registered for compulsory health insurance by the canton retroactively to the date on which the application was submitted. The costs for premiums and cost sharing (deductible rate and retention) are subsidised to the cantons by the Confederation with the payment of the global lump sums. If a person in need requires immediate medical assistance even before applying for protection status S and has no health insurance, the public authorities will cover the costs. A lot of health information from Switzerland can be found on the web platform www.migesplus.ch – there is also important, specific information for protection seekers from Ukraine.
Can refugees be accommodated in private accommodation?
Persons resident in Switzerland may voluntarily take in Ukrainian nationals at their home, provided that the accommodation is free of charge. If the guest is charged for the accommodation, his or her arrival must be reported to the competent cantonal authority.
How does a placement work?
Refugees from Ukraine can register at a federal asylum centre. They are then received by the team of a relief organisation (HEKS, SRC, SAH Zurich, SOS Ticino, Caritas or Salvation Army) and it is clarified whether a placement in private accommodation is possible. The aid organisations have access to a database with your details on available accommodation. If there is a possible match between your information and that of the refugee, you will be contacted by phone or email to clarify any open questions. Usually, a meeting to get to know each other is arranged. If the number of asylum applications is high, a personal meeting may not be held due to time constraints. If both sides agree to the mediation, they receive a written confirmation with the respective contact details. The protection seekers can then leave the Federal Asylum Centre and move into private accommodation. After the placement, the refugees and the host families receive further information from us and are informed about the future contact person and organisation. So that the legal situation and mutual expectations are better clarified, you will also be sent a written accommodation agreement.
Are the refugees accompanied to the host family?
The refugees can travel from the Federal Asylum Centre to the host family by public transport. They will receive the necessary information and transport vouchers from the staff at the federal asylum centres. Of course, a personal pick-up on site can also be arranged.
Why is private accommodation useful/necessary at all?
Accommodation with a host family is of great value to refugees, especially in the first few months. It helps people to feel welcome here and to integrate more quickly. Living together with people who already live here makes it easier for them to participate in social, cultural and economic life in Switzerland. Mutual exchange can also lead to long-term connections and develop a positive dynamic.
I cannot offer accommodation. How else can I help?
For inspiration on helping, see the following article from the Beobachter: https://www.beobachter.ch/gesellschaft/hilfe-fur-fluchtlinge-in-der-schweiz-so-konnen-sie-auch-mit-wenig-zeitaufwand-helfen
Useful information on housing for persons in need of protection, such as the legal situation, renting and subletting, as well as fact sheets and contract templates in German/Ukrainian, French/Ukrainian and Italian/Ukrainian are available here: https://www.svit.ch/de/services/unterbringung-von-schutzbeduerftigen
Who is responsible for refugees? Who takes care of them?
After placement, all host families and guests are accompanied and supported either directly by the canton or by a professional partner organisation in the respective canton of residence. Swiss Refugee Aid works closely with the cantons and their affiliated refugee aid organisations in this regard. In the meantime, host families and refugees can contact the head office of Swiss Refugee Aid. At the same time, information material is given to the refugees in the federal asylum centres. The cantonal or communal authorities are responsible for providing social assistance, care, medical care and integration services. In each canton there are also contact points for emergencies. The contacts are sent to the host families and the refugees. For specific situations, other specialised agencies are also available (e.g. legal advice, specialised agencies for dealing with trauma and violence, tracing service for family members, etc.). The partner organisation can provide information and referrals to these specialised agencies.
Is there a contact person after mediation in case of conflicts or other problems?
In case of conflicts, it is recommended to contact the cantonal migration authority or the support organisation employed by the respective canton. Swiss Refugee Aid is also available to answer questions.
What kind of guest support is expected from a host family?
It is useful if you can set aside some time to support the refugees with everyday questions. What does the eight-year-old daughter need to start school? What does this letter from the authorities mean? When do I go to the doctor and when do I have to go straight to the emergency? Where are cheap shopping facilities? These are just a few examples of everyday questions that can arise. However, the need for support is very individual. While some people may enjoy participating in family life, others want more peace and quiet and opportunities to withdraw. In order to make living together pleasant for both sides, it is therefore important to clarify mutual expectations at the beginning of the placement. These expectations can be clarified at the joint meeting with the partner organisation responsible for the canton. If necessary, intercultural interpreters can be called in for this meeting.