Swiss foreign policy on migration

Swiss foreign policy on migration is based on three principles:

  • A comprehensive approach to migration: migration is a global phenomenon that brings both challenges and opportunities.
  • A partnership-type approach: the challenges and opportunities of migration must be tackled through cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination.
  • A cross-governmental approach: migration requires coherent action from various departments, offices, etc. in the Federal Administration. 
    (see also «Interdepartmental Cooperation»)

Within the framework of international cooperation on migration and based on an analysis of migration trends at national and international level, SEM and its interdepartmental partners define the strategic foreign policy strategy on migration. This policy is implemented using a variety of instruments (e.g. dialogues and agreements with third countries and countries of origin) as well as measures at bilateral and multilateral levels. For the 2017–2020 period, the ICM Structure has set three goals:

  1. Forging a strategic link between immigration policy and Switzerland’s policy on international cooperation. The strategic link between these two policy fields is in line with Federal Council efforts to achieve more policy coherence, based on a systemic approach to dealing with the opportunities and challenges of migration and furthering Switzerland’s interests.
  2. Concluding new migration partnerships and additional agreements on migration.
  3. Making active contributions to the governance of international refugee and migration situations.

In line with these goals, SEM works towards harmonising international migration and refugee policy – in particular at European level – and in the practical implementation of this policy. SEM coordinates questions on migration and refugees with the international organisations. It draws up and implements international treaties on readmission and transit and on migration partnerships. Through its delegate for migration issues in the Middle East, SEM has expanded the operational implementation of Swiss immigration policy in the Middle East.

Last modification 22.04.2021

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