Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga, the head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police, and the Indian Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, signed an agreement on the mutual waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic passports. It will facilitate their freedom of movement, thereby promoting cooperation with India and strengthening Switzerland's position as a host country for international organisations.
Furthermore, two representatives from the Indian and Swiss authorities signed an agreement allowing partners of staff at Swiss representations to work in India.
The technical agreement on the identification and return of nationals, signed by representatives from the Swiss and Indian migration authorities, regulates cooperation on the identification and return of persons who do not have a regulated stay in the respective country. Although there are only a few such cases each year, establishing the identity of a person in order to obtain a valid Indian travel document used to take a considerable amount of time. This is the first agreement of this kind signed by India.
India – a country of major importance
India is a country of major importance for Switzerland in the field of migration. While there are few asylum requests on the part of Indian nationals in Switzerland, India – with some 1,700 permits annually – has for the past ten years topped the statistics for work permits granted to non-European countries.
Some 110,000 visas are issued to Indian citizens each year, which accounts for approximately one fifth of all tourist visas issued by Switzerland. Federal Councillor Sommaruga also visited the Swiss visa application centre in New Delhi, Switzerland's largest visa processing facility.
Official meeting and exchange of views with representatives from civil society
Discussions at ministerial level covered issues such as mutual assistance in judicial matters, protection of human rights and cooperation on tax matters. Other topics covered included the ongoing negotiations on a free trade agreement between EFTA and India, and the protection of intellectual property rights.
While in New Delhi, Ms Sommaruga took part in an exchange of views with representatives from civil society working to improve gender equality and tackle discrimination against women. The participants described the challenges in promoting women's rights in India.
Before travelling to India, Ms Sommaruga completed a working visit to Sri Lanka, where she signed an agreement formalising cooperation between the two countries on migration issues. She is scheduled to return to Switzerland on Friday.
Federal Councillor Sommaruga signs migration agreement with Sri Lanka
(press release, 4 october 2016)
Federal Councillor Sommaruga on working visit to Sri Lanka and India
(press release, 2 october 2016)
Last modification 06.10.2016