Swiss Referenda On Immigration


1.  Some press reporting has implied that the recent Swiss referendum has reversed an earlier decision to impose restrictions on immigration.  This is not so.

The referenda

2.  In February 2014 the Swiss people voted on a proposition “Against Mass Immigration” which was in favour of their country: 

  • Independently managing immigration to Switzerland
  • Limiting numbers by ceilings and annual quotas
  • Restricting grants of asylum, residence, family reunification and benefits

3.  The Federal Council has three years in which to renegotiate or amend international agreements which conflict with this decision by which they remain bound.

 4.  In November 2014 the Swiss voted against a different proposition entitled "Stop the overpopulation to secure the natural foundations of life” which called for: 

  • the growth of the permanent resident population in Switzerland due to immigration to be limited to 0.2% per year
  • and family planning projects to be funded in the framework of development cooperation.

5.  The two propositions are entirely unrelated, but doubtless the Federal Council will take the rejection of a 0.2% level of cap into account when thinking about what their ceilings and annual quotas should be as they plan for implementation of the February result.

6.  To put this into context, a 0.2% cap would have cut Swiss net migration by a factor of 8 – reducing UK net migration by this amount would bring it down to about 30,000 a year 

9th December 2014 - European Union, Policy, Population

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