Immigration and Integration Policy in Switzerland, 1848 to 2014

  • Didier Ruedin, Camilla Alberti, Gianni D'Amato
  • Swiss Political Science Review, February 2015, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/spsr.12144

How immigration and integration policy developed in Switzerland between 1848 and 2014

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash

What is it about?

In this article, we provide a systematic assessment of how immigration and integration policies in Switzerland have changed over time. We start in 1848 when modern Switzerland was founded, and outline year by year how policies have changed (or remained the same). To do so, we use the MIPEX questionnaire: a multidimensional portrait of how immigration and integration policy has evolved in Switzerland is drawn. We identify three distinctive periods (expansive, restricting, expanding). The changes in policies suggest that immigrants are increasingly accepted as a permanent feature of Swiss society.

Why is it important?

History can be a useful benchmark to understand the contemporary social world. To do so, however, we need a systematic approach to measuring the past.


Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

There are many descriptions of immigration and immigration policies over time, but no study has ever ventured to capture these systematically over time. Rather than developing our own approach, we chose the MIPEX to allow a comparison with the present situation, and also to capture policies in multiple dimensions (to add important nuances to existing accounts).

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The following have contributed to this page: Didier Ruedin