Eine Frau geht an einer Weltkarte, die aus Kinderporträts besteht, am Freitag (18.06.2010) im JuniorMuseum in Köln vorbei.

3.7.2012 | Von:
Noemi Carrel

Current Developments and Future Challenges

Switzerland’s direct democratic system offers Swiss citizens unique opportunities for political participation. As history has shown, these are also of particular importance for the development of Swiss migration policy. At the same time two referenda have recently caused considerable sensation.

On 29 November 2009, Swiss voters approved the initiative ‘Against the Construction of Minarets’, although the parliament and the Federal Council (Bundesrat) recommended the rejection of the initiative, since it stands in contradiction to the federal constitution and violates contractually guaranteed human rights.[1]

An additional sensation was caused by the initiative ‘for the deportation of criminal foreigners’. This provides for automatically withdrawing the right of abode for female and male foreigners in cases where they have committed certain criminal offenses or where an abuse in obtaining social benefits has been ascertained. Again the parliament and the Bundesrat recommended that the initiative be rejected and presented Swiss voters with an alternative draft. The latter incorporated the basic idea behind the initiative but was intended, unlike the initiative itself, not to conflict with the basic principles of the constitution and international law. In the referendum of 28 November 2010, Swiss voters nonetheless approved the ‘Deportation Initiative’ and rejected the alternative draft of the bill. The decision concerning how the initiative should be implemented in detail is pending.[2]

The exercise of direct democratic rights has in the referenda cited above led to a conflict between democracy and the rule of law. How this conflict is dealt with in the future can have decisive implications for the development of Swiss migration policy.

Fundamentally, especially the developments related to Switzerland’s relations with the EU are decisive in future Swiss migration policy. Furthermore, different legislative projects are currently underway. Thus, among other things, the revision of the asylum law, the partial revision of the ‘Federal Act on Foreign Nationals’ and the complete revision of the ‘Law on Swiss Citizenship’ (BüG) await. In the case of the asylum law, the aim is in particular to shorten the length of the procedure. The stated aim is basically the weakening of Switzerland’s attractiveness as an asylum destination and the ‘battle’ against the abuse of asylum. In the case of the revisions of the AuG and the BüG, the focus is mainly on adjustments related to the anchoring of the integration principle in legal provisions. Thus, the aim is to make integration according to the principle of ‘promote and demand’ more binding and to make the granting of residence permits as well as naturalization more strongly bound than previously to an individual’s ‘level of integration’.[3]


Swiss Federal Chancellery, Swiss Federal Office for Migration BFM.
Swiss Federal Chancellery, Swiss Federal Office for Migration BFM.
Swiss Federal Office for Migration BFM, Piguet (2006).


Zuwanderung, Flucht und Asyl: Aktuelle Themen

Ein Kurzdossier legt komplexe Zusammenhänge aus den Bereichen Zuwanderung, Flucht und Asyl sowie Integration auf einfache und klare Art und Weise dar. Es bietet einen fundierten Einstieg in eine bestimmte Thematik, in dem es den Hintergrund näher beleuchtet und verschiedene Standpunkte wissenschaftlich und kritisch abwägt. Darüber hinaus enthält es Hinweise auf weiterführende Literatur und Internet-Verweise. Dies eröffnet die Möglichkeit, sich eingehender mit der Thematik zu befassen. Unsere Kurzdossiers erscheinen bis zu 6-mal jährlich.

Mehr lesen