Switzerland earmarks funds to 'promote integration' of foreign citizens
Social and cultural assimilation into the Swiss society can be challenging for a number of new arrivals, and local governments are trying to make this process easier.
To accomplish this goal, the government has budgeted approximately 130 million francs for the four-year period between 2024 and 2027 — that is, 32 million per year — the Federal Council announced on Thursday.
The money will be distributed among cantons “to finance measures intended for migrants from EU or EFTA countries, as well as those from third countries”, authorities said, adding that the funds will be used "to promote the potential offered by the [foreign] workforce present in Switzerland”.
Cantonal integration programmes (KIPs) “are the main strategic instruments of Swiss integration policy", the federal government said.
"Integration in Switzerland is largely successful", according to KIP, which notes on its website “the vast majority of migrants actively participate in economic, social and cultural life".
In fact, "regarding integration at work, in the education system, and in terms of income, Switzerland is doing well compared to other European countries".
This sum of 130 million francs doesn’t include the contributions the federal government will make during this period in favour of Ukrainian refugees who are beneficiaries of protection status S.
Additional funds will also be given to institutions and organisations working with traumatised or particularly vulnerable refugees, including the Service against Forced Marriages and the Swiss Network against Excision.
Switzerland pays special attention to the successful integration of foreigners, who “should participate in the economic, social and cultural life of society”, according to the State Secretariat for Migration.
This requires not only fluency in the national language of a particular region, but also familiarity with the Swiss way of life and local customs.
"Successful integration also depends on the personal responsibility of immigrants", SEM says.
"You are encouraged to actively participate in your own integration by learning the local language, pursuing a job, training or continuing education and participating in society".
These are criteria for for successful integration, as defined in Swiss law:
- Respect for public safety, security and order
- Respect for the values of the Federal Constitution
- Language skills
- Participation in working life or efforts to acquire an education.