Swiss federal authorities said they have drawn up three separate scenarios ranging from 10,000 arrivals inside a month to a worst case of 30,000 inside a few days.
The latter “would necessitate army intervention,” the government said.
In a statement on Wednesday the government said it had tasked the defence ministry with putting 2,000 troops on standby for such an eventuality.
The plans, agreed last Thursday, aim to coordinate state, cantonal and communal response in the event of a large influx of people.
While the government noted that for the moment no such military intervention is necessary, it said it wanted to be able to react quickly.
Given the current shifting state of migratory routes “Switzerland could be faced in the coming weeks or months by an influx of people seeking protection,” it told AFP.
During the Kosovo crisis in 1999 Switzerland received 9,600 asylum applications in a single month, it said.
The number of people requesting asylum in Switzerland has dropped in recent months, according to latest figures, however the Swiss federal migration office (SEM) said the situation in Europe was still “volatile” and it could envisage the number of asylum seekers to Switzerland rising again during the course of the year.
Under the emergency plans up to 9,000 beds would be made available for migrants under scenario three.
The SEM has already increased the number of places available from 2,200 to 4,600 over the past year, it said.