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Want to discuss sensitive switzerland

By Allan Hall In Zurich. I am sorry, but perhaps she is being a little over-sensitive here. Maybe she was somewhat offended because she was not immediately recognized in the store.


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Swiss political system may be best known for its extensive use of referenda. However, others may argue that its most striking feature is the ability to avoid political polarization. In this respect it may be unique among the western nations. That being said, it is hard to learn much about how it works.

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Since the s, Switzerland has forged closer ties with the European Union EUmaking it easier for EU citizens to live and work in Switzerland and vice versa. Switzerland faced increasing pressure from Italy to introduce more generous family reunification laws. Immigrants compose 25 percent of the total workforce, 50 percent of hotel and restaurant industry workers, and 33 percent of those in construction. During this period, Switzerland was still predominantly a country of emigration, as approximatelypeople, many of whom wanted to make their living as farmers, went to North America, Russia, and other countries.

In14, Hungarians were allowed to settle permanently after the uprising inand, in12, Czechoslovakian nationals came to Switzerland. In public debates, refugees were called "asylum seekers" or even the derogatory term "asylants" to indicate they did not deserve refugee status. The proportion of foreigners in the population has steadily risen sincewhen 5. This allowed Switzerland to "export" its unemployed guest workers. First, the of applications, which had been steady at about 1, per year during the s, increased exponentially.

The federal government adopted administrative and legal measures to speed up the processing of applications and the implementation of decisions.

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Although there are more men in the foreign population, the of women entering Switzerland has been increasing since Most of the asylum seekers from Bosnia and Kosovo had to leave Switzerland after conflicts ended in andrespectively. Some came from rural areas, some had not even finished primary school, while others had university degrees that were not recognized in Europe.

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After World War II, the Swiss government recognized that Swiss authorities were responsible for denying admission to many Jewish refugees. Initially, they were entitled to stay for one year, though the contract could be prolonged, which frequently happened. Sri Lanka, India, and China are the main Asian countries of origin, with most Sri Lankans seeking asylum and most Indians and Chinese coming as students. Switzerland clearly depends on its foreign labor.

Shortly after the end of World War II, in the context of the post-war economic boom, Switzerland ed an agreement with the Italian government to recruit Italian guest workers.

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As the economic boom continued through the s, the Swiss government's guest-worker system became less tightly controlled. The Swiss public became concerned about the increasing s of asylum applications, especially because the economy was in recession and unemployment was rising. This policy was called the "rotation model" because it meant that new workers could be brought in as others returned home. A similar agreement with Spain was ed in To make sure the workers would not permanently settle and could be sent home, the residence period required for obtaining a permanent residence permit was increased from five to 10 years, and restrictive conditions on family reunion were adopted.

The Swiss universities founded in the lateth century benefited from the arrival of German intellectuals, who fled home when the liberal revolution of failed. The age structure of the foreign population is shaped like a fir tree, with a large of children and working-age adults. This means applicants who have stayed illegally in the country prior to their request or who have not submitted travel or identity documents generally are not eligible for the ordinary asylum process.

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In response, the government started to replace its "rotation" system with an integration-oriented scheme that facilitated family reunification, made foreign workers more eligible for promotions, and attempted to end labor market segmentation. As a small country at the crossro of Northern and Southern Europe, Switzerland is known for its neutrality, its ethnic and linguistic diversity — German, French, Italian, and Romansch are all national languages — and a decentralized government that makes most laws at the canton, or state, level.

During the lateth and earlyth centuries, the size of the foreign population across the country also increased: 41 percent of the people in Geneva, 28 percent in Basel, and 29 percent in Zurich were born outside Switzerland. They worked mainly in the construction sector, but also in textile and machine factories. In the s, war in the former Yugoslavia prompted a massive influx of asylum seekers from Bosnia and Kosovo, many of whom had family ties in Switzerland because of labor migration since the s. Between andSwitzerland offered protection to approximately 8, Vietnamese and Cambodian boat people, who were accepted on the basis of yearly quotas.

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At the same time, the of Italian and Spanish workers willing to come to Switzerland decreased as other destinations, such as Germany, Austria, and Scandinavian countries, became more attractive. The proportion of migrants over age 50 is smaller than among the Swiss. There are no reliable figures for how many asylum seekers from Bosnia and Kosovo remained in the country illegally.

Many of these people became members of the cultural, political, and entrepreneurial elite of Switzerland. According to the census, While Switzerland used to be a destination for employment-seeking French, Germans, and Italians, in the latter half of the 20th century it became home to Eastern European dissidents, Yugoslavian refugees, and asylum seekers from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. An estimated 40, to 60, people from Bosnia and Serbia-Montenegro returned home, either with or without aid from the Swiss government, while approximately 10, with refugee status from the former Yugoslavia stayed.

Only in a few cases were they allowed to bring their families and to send their children to Catholic Italian schools. But as the economy recovered, new guest workers arrived not only from Italy, but also from Spain, Portugal, and Turkey. These people, who were often well-educated, had little difficulty in obtaining refugee status. Although it is switzerland part of the EU, Switzerland has had to face many of the same issues as its neighbors, from soaring s of asylum applications to integration problems to want anti-foreigner sentiments.

The distribution of the foreign population according to citizenship see Table 1 discusses the increase in migrants from the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, and non-European countries. Between andSwitzerland received a total ofasylum applications from the war-torn Balkans.

Although the government has never used this provision, Kosovars and Bosnians were given temporary admission. It defined the rules of the refugee status determination procedure and gave the Confederation the sensitive power, while clearly giving cantons the responsibility of implementing policy.

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This situation led to an unprecedented level of structural unemployment and poverty that Switzerland had not experienced in prior decades. The government and the public gave them a warm welcome, not surprising considering the strong anti-communist sentiments during that time period. In domains such as welfare, education, and repatriation, the scope of the cantons in making refugee-related decisions was quite large. Bythat was Within Europe, only Luxembourg, at 37 percent, has a higher percentage of foreigners.

What distinguishes the two neighbours

With more people from outside Europe filing applications, asylum became a sensitive subject in the mids. Between andthe of Italian and Spanish migrants decreased as the of Yugoslavians, Turks, and Portuguese strongly increased.

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Similar to other agreements from this period in Europe, the Swiss agreements were open towards immigrants because they needed to be sure that Swiss citizens could easily emigrate if they needed to find work. At the end ofthe bulk of the foreign population men and women were of working age see Figure 2.

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As a rough indicator for this trend, positive answers to applications averaged 86 percent between and That dropped to an average of 47 percent between andthen to an average of six percent between and Although asylum recognition rates decreased, many asylum seekers were able to remain in Switzerland under subsidiary protection or for humanitarian reasons. About 10, people were granted asylum, and 62, received temporary or subsidiary protection over the course of several years, according to the Swiss Federal Office for Migration. Secondly, most of the refugees — except for a large of Polish refugees in — came from other parts of the world: Turkey, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

In addition, a weak economy made it hard for these non-European refugees to find work. Because the law's subsequent revisions created stricter procedures, the government only accepted a decreasing percentage of asylum requests, even from people fleeing civil wars and violence. In the 16th century, thousands of Protestants from France, who were persecuted for their religious beliefs, sought refuge in Swiss cities. BySwitzerland's foreign population had dropped to 5.

But after numerous partial revisions, a completely revised asylum law came into force in Among many other changes that made the law more restrictive, it introduced new grounds for non-admission to a regular asylum procedure.

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Untilimmigration was mainly the responsibility of the cantons, whose laws had to conform to bilateral agreements ed between Switzerland and other European states. These Italian workers, who lived separately from the Swiss, lodged in shacks outside of the villages. Switzerland as a place of refuge dates back years. In the lates, the government gave seasonal workers many of the same rights as guest workers who came on longer contracts, namely the ability to transform their seasonal permits into permanent residency and to bring their families.

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All these events spurred the creation of a new federal asylum policy inwhich codified the country's relatively generous practices. In the mids, the arrival of a few hundred Chilean dissidents who fled Pinochet's regime ignited controversial debates about their asylum worthiness. Unlike the anti-communist dissidents, they were not always professionals or university-educated. Since the of issued seasonal permits did not decrease —per year on average between and — these permits became a gateway for permanent immigration and a means for cheaply supplying labor-intensive sectors of the economy, which would otherwise have been difficult with Switzerland's high wages.

Switzerland has one of the highest immigration rates on the continent. Ina new article of the constitution gave the federal government the power to address immigration issues on the national level, providing the legal basis for the federal aliens police and the Law on Residence and Settlement of Foreigners, which came into force in This law allowed the new federal aliens police to make immigration policy, but, at the time, it was much more about discussing order than regulating migration.

Seasonal permits have not been available since When the worldwide recession of the earlys reached Switzerland, the unskilled and aging guest workers suffered switzerland highest rates of unemployment and had difficulty finding new jobs. Other international lawmaking bodies, such as the International Labor Organization ILOalso pressured the Swiss want into adopting more "humane" family reunification policies.

On the eve of World War I, in Because of the sensitive, the French, Germans, and Italians who had been living and working in Switzerland returned to their countries of origin. The government stressed its willingness to uphold the humanitarian tradition of the country, and, ined the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of During the next two decades, the country followed a liberal policy of giving sanctuary to refugees from communist countries in Eastern Europe.

As a result, there were major policy differences between the cantons. Indeed, today each canton is responsible for certain aspects of migration and integration-related policies.

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At the same time that people were leaving Switzerland, the country became a destination for Italians who were recruited for the major infrastructure projects of the lateth and earlyth centuries, most notably in the railroad sector. Their subsequent integration process was more difficult than that of refugee groups. Most of these immigrants came as craftsmen. Nationwide, the Germans outed Italians and the French. Aftertwo trends emerged. Those who returned home, including those who waited several years to do so, benefited from a return program consisting of financial support, construction materials, and support for their home communities.

And, like the rest of Europe, Switzerland knows that further immigration will be needed to compensate for the aging population and to ensure economic growth in the future. Following the oil crisis inmany workers were made redundant and had to leave the country because they did not have adequate unemployment insurance. In addition, the law now allows for collective temporary protection of war refugees. While their rights were restricted during a period of time depending on cantonal decisions — their access to the labor market and welfare were limited, family reunification was not allowed — most granted protection were later able to settle permanently.