Migration partnerships

Background

Recent years have seen a marked change in migration. As a result of increased mobility and better access to information and means of communication, migration has become more diversified and globalised. Even if the causes of migration, such as poverty, wars, violations of human rights and economic crises, have remained fundamentally unchanged, their extent and interconnections have made the situation far more complex. In order to respond to the opportunities and challenges of migration and to achieve synergies between the various stakeholders in migration policy, Switzerland has created the instrument of migration partnerships. The objective is to adopt a comprehensive, global approach to migration while taking account of Switzerland’s own interests, those of the partner country and those of the migrants themselves (a “win-win-win” approach).

Principle and content

The principle of migration partnerships is anchored in Art. 100 of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act, which gives the Federal Council the task of encouraging bilateral and multilateral partnerships with other States in the area of migration.

Migration partnerships form the framework for various instruments of Switzerland’s foreign policy on migration, such agreements and projects. They are normally formalised in a memorandum of understanding (MoU). MoUs were signed in April 2009 with Bosnia and Herzegovina, in June 2009 with Serbia, in February 2010 with Kosovo, in February 2011 with Nigeria, in June 2012 with Tunisia and in August 2018 with Sri Lanka. Regular bilateral meetings are held to discuss the implementation of migration partnerships. As they generally have an interest in the implementation of migration partnerships, various federal authorities are involved on the Swiss side.

The content of a migration partnership is flexible and will vary from one country to the next, since it reflects that country’s particular context and the different interests of the specific partners. Apart from the more traditional themes, such as readmission, return assistance, visa policy and the prevention of human trafficking, other issues such as the synergies between migration and development and migrants’ human rights have also become standard elements of migration partnerships today.

Actors

The leading actors in the conclusion of migration partnerships are the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) in the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) and the Human Security Division (HSD) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

Signed partnerships

Last modification 23.04.2021

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