Healthcare provision for undocumented migrants

Undocumented migrants are particularly vulnerable when it comes to health. The FOPH has funded studies on the health status of this group and their access to Swiss healthcare. It also prepared a report in response to a postulate on the issue.

Switzerland is home to an estimated 90,000 undocumented migrants, i.e. people without a residence permit, who often live in precarious conditions. From a legal perspective, undocumented migrants are required, like all persons resident in Switzerland, to take out health insurance. They are also entitled to premium reductions and to access basic Swiss healthcare services. The health insurance companies are obliged to accept undocumented migrants and are not allowed to pass on information about them. The same confidentiality obligation applies to healthcare professionals.

Health insurance for undocumented migrants

Although the legal framework regarding access to healthcare for undocumented migrants is relatively broad, in practice there are various issues. These are described in the study ‘Health Care for Undocumented Migrants in Switzerland’, which was funded by the FOPH. The study and factsheets containing the key findings are available in the infobox below.

The FOPH also prepared a report in response to a postulate on health insurance for undocumented migrants and their access to healthcare, see infobox: postulate report Bea Heim 09.3484 and information sheet on health insurance for undocumented migrants in Switzerland.  

The Parchemins project

When undocumented migrants are granted a residence permit - how does this circumstance affect their health, well-being and living conditions? The Parchemins project is an interdisciplinary long-term study that has been investigating this question since 2017 using the example of undocumented migrants in Geneva. In early 2023, the final results were presented at a symposium. Some interim results were published before, including two articles on the impact of the pandemic on undocumented migrants in Geneva in 2020.

Last modification 31.07.2023

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Healthcare and Related Professions Division
Health Equity Section
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Bern

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