Submitted by: Jasmin Blatter, Integration specialist, Integration Division, State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Switzerland
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
2014-2017 / 2018-2021 / 2022-2025
The Cantonal Integration Programmes (CIP), which are based on strategic objectives, aim to promote integration in Switzerland. The strategy of the CIP is devised by the Confederation in consultation with the cantons. The cantons are thereafter responsible for developing and introducing the local integration measures. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) monitors the achievement of objectives and supports the cantons in quality assurance.
The CIPs are divided into three pillars and eight areas of action:
Information and counselling:
- Orientation and needs assessment
- Protection against discrimination
Education and employment:
- Language and learning
- Pre-school support
- Intercultural interpreting and communication
- Social integration
The CIPs are funded through two sources:
- The cantons receive integration subsidies/funding from the Confederation for each positive asylum decision and each temporary admission. The subsidy, amounting to 18’000 CHF per person, serves to integrate recognised refugees and temporarily admitted persons).
- The integration promotion loan is available for the integration of all foreigners. It is paid by the Confederation on the condition that the canton matches the same amount. As such, the commitment of the cantons are doubled
Main activities of the Good Practice
- Orientation and needs assessment: A growing number of communes offer orientation services and host welcome events for migrants and refugees. Newcomers become familiar with their new environment and find out more about their rights and responsibilities.
- Counselling: Access to low-threshold advice services has improved. Suitable integration measures are identified more quickly, and important processes can be launched.
- Protection against discrimination: Training courses mean that cantonal administrations now address the issue of discrimination. Anti-racism campaigns help raise public awareness of discrimination.
- Language and learning: Many cantons have expanded the number of courses they offer and improved their quality. They are also more easily accessible and better geared towards the various target groups.
- Pre-school support: Many cantons aspire to provide good quality services for pre-school language acquisition. Daycare and playgroup staff continue to develop and hone their intercultural skills.
- Employability: The cantons not only expand their workplace integration services for refugees and temporarily admitted persons, but also improve their inter-institutional cooperation.
- Intercultural interpreting and communication: There is an increasing need for services of qualified intercultural interpreters and communicators. Through improving each other’s understanding the work of established frameworks has become easier.
- Social integration: Municipalities and neighbourhoods especially have expanded the services and opportunities in relation to social integration.
How challenges were overcome
Orientation and needs assessment: For the communes, providing orientation services and organising welcome events entails a great deal of effort and investment and takes time.
Counselling: Not all government agencies are yet equipped to provide newcomers with efficient and effective advice and support.
Protection against discrimination: In individual cases, conflicts are not easily resolved. Raising awareness of integration and discrimination issues among established frameworks remains a challenge.
Language and learning: Teaching content should be geared more towards the actual language needs of the students. Instructors should attend further training to hone their teaching skills through training
Pre-school support: Families in need of special support are hard to reach. There is no guarantee that language promotion efforts are invested in those children who need them most.
Employability: Many newcomers are unskilled. Yet, qualification programmes are resource-intensive and placements are limited. Hence, there is a need for a good selection process.
Intercultural interpreting and communication: Often funds are lacking at the local level to pay for these services. In many places, intercultural interpreters is still not a given in many places despite the clear benefits they bring.
Social integration: The mentoring and coordination of volunteers is resource-intensive. Some projects lack clear ideas and plans, and fundraising efforts should be better organised.