Switzerland’s foreign policy on migration

Switzerland's foreign policy on migration seeks to address all aspects of migration while also taking national interests into account. It has various instruments at its disposal to this end.

Switzerland's foreign policy on migration is based on the Report on International Cooperation on Migration, which the Federal Council approved in February 2011. In this document, Switzerland undertakes the following commitments:

  • to pursue a comprehensive approach to migration and to take account of both the opportunities and challenges presented by migration
  • to foster close partnerships between countries of origin, transit and destination, taking the interests of all stakeholders into account
  • to ensure cooperation between the offices responsible within the Federal Administration as part of a whole-of-government approach

Switzerland also links its international cooperation and migration foreign policy instruments in order to address the root causes of irregular and forced migration, such as armed conflict.

Interdepartmental cooperation

The activities carried out within the framework of Switzerland's foreign policy on migration are coordinated by an interdepartmental structure for international cooperation on migration (ICM structure). Established in 2011 by the Federal Council, this mainly involves the following bodies:

  • the FDFA's State Secretariat and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
  • the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and the Federal Office of Police (fedpol), part of the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP)
  • the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), part of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER)

The Federal Council has also appointed a special ambassador for development, forced displacement and migration within the FDFA who represents Switzerland within international bodies.

Instruments of foreign policy on migration

Appropriate instruments are essential for a rigorous and coherent implementation of Switzerland's foreign policy on migration:

  • international and regional dialogues on migration
  • migration partnerships with individual countries
  • programmes to strengthen the protection of refugees and migrants in their regions of origin (protection in the region)
  • readmission agreements and cooperation agreements concerning migration