Swiss policy on the integration of immigrants often fails to meet the standards of the European Union and Council of Europe, according to a British Council survey.
The Migration Integration Policy Index (Mipex) gives Switzerland 43 points out of 100, placing it 23rd out of 31 countries
The survey was carried out in 2010; Switzerland shows no improvement in its score and has dropped three places since the previous index in 2007. Neighbouring countries France, Italy and Germany have a better record on integration, the survey shows, with Austria and Switzerland trailing behind.
The index commentary tracked recent legal changes in Switzerland up to May 2010, such as the planned referendum on deporting foreign criminals (accepted in November 2010).
“Federal standards are shifting integration responsibility to cantons and grant them much discretion, [for example in setting] conditions for family reunion and citizenship. Cantons evaluate the ‘degree of integration’, create contracts, and adopt integration laws, but without a national definition,” the report observed.
Mipex, led by the British Council and the Migration Policy Group and co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, measures integration policies in all European Union member states plus Norway, Switzerland, Canada and the United States.
Sweden performs best in the 2010 index, followed by Portugal and Canada in second and third places respectively. The other countries making the top ten are Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Spain, the US and Italy.