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Immigrants to undergo integration interviews

Foreigners settling in Switzerland from 2014 will have one-on-one interviews with immigration staff to better understand their rights and duties.

The Swiss cabinet on Thursday approved a report recommending better communication and information would improve integration of immigrants.

The report, which included widespread input from cantons and communes, found a selection of foreigners living in Switzerland were not properly informed about their rights and obligations.

The government will budget up to SFr20 million ($18.6 million) to go towards cantons to support the move, to be matched by the cantonal authorities.

Among the ideas to be communicated to immigrants will be the wish for them to take part in the Swiss economy, to be trained or to learn one of the national languages. In some cases, an integration contract will be drawn up with immigrants, or they will be given certain recommendations.

The report said cantons and cities did use a number of measures that promoted integration which were effective in a general way but did not respond entirely to needs. It suggested that the government take on an active strategic role to encourage integration.

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