Integration remains a buzzword among the Swiss, with proposals frequently discussed on ways to help – even direct – foreigners to find their place.
As a small nation with four national languages, a lengthy naturalisation process and a high percentage of foreign residents, Switzerland preserves its identity by promoting shared fundamental values and tolerance, and establishing legal boundaries and acceptable social norms.
The Federal Act on Foreign Nationals is available for download in English here.
Asylum seekers and those receiving state support can be required to take language courses, receive job training and follow professional-development programmes. Parallel societies are often viewed as something to be avoided. Integration takes place at the federal, cantonal and municipal level.
To read more about specific integration programmes in French, German and Italian, please visit the State Secretariat for Migration website. For a list of cantonal educational and training authorities, please visit the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education.
A list of frequently asked questions can be found at the State Secretariat for Migration. The charitable organisation Migraweb is a good source for more on numerous aspects of daily life, including family, insurance, taxes and mobility.
Although many people in Switzerland speak English well, proficiency in at least one national language (German, French, Italian, Romansh) is often expected and will go a long way toward opening doors and making life easier. Language courses are offered through Migros Club School and adult education centres like the Volkshochschule or Université populaire that can be found across Switzerland.