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Today’s Migration-Mobility Nexus in Switzerland

  • Gianni D’AmatoEmail author
  • Philippe Wanner
  • Ilka Steiner
Open Access
Chapter
Part of the IMISCOE Research Series book series (IMIS)

Abstract

This chapter provides a general overview of the Migration-Mobility Nexus in Switzerland. Today’s patterns of migration move on a continuum from long-term and permanent to increasingly temporary and fluid. Based on data from the Migration-Mobility Survey and on theoretical and political considerations, it aims at providing a general empirical overview of the migration flows towards Switzerland. First and on a theoretical level, the two paradigmatic lenses of migration research and mobility studies are presented. Second, the transformation of European migration regimes since the 1970s and its effect on the patterns of migration and mobility are discussed. Third, we show how Switzerland, being part of the European Migration Regime in transformation, can be used as a laboratory to understand the changes in and of an advanced post-industrial society. To this end, we provide a short empirical overview of the immigrant population and their living conditions in the country. Fourth, the chapter provides a set of analytical questions that will be addressed throughout this volume – by means of the Migration-Mobility Survey data – and discussed in the concluding chapter.

Keywords

Migration Migration-Mobility Nexus Switzerland Mobility dynamics 

1.1 Introduction

Current patterns in studying the movement of persons have been going through a process of reconsideration over the last few years. Migration studies have been increasingly superposed by more-recent studies of mobilities. When examining the linkage between mobility and migration studies, researchers must begin by questioning some of the assumptions underlying the standard definitions of international migration, located within the framework of the international state system. The linkage also raises the issue of the agency of those who are or have been literally on the move.

Indeed, a wide consensus exists among social researchers that migration patterns, regimes, and life-worlds have undergone a considerable transformation in contemporary Europe in recent decades. Compared with the post-war era, when migration regimes were characterized by temporary labour recruitment policies and, when immigrants settled, the paradigm of assimilation, the acceleration of globalization since the 1970s has given rise to many new types of migrants, policies, legal regulations and societal dynamics. In this recent past, logics of free movement, security and human rights discourses and anti-immigrant populist mobilization have been at work simultaneously, questioning and re-arranging established forms of inclusion and exclusion according to class, nationality, origin, religion and gender. It appears that governments, legislators, academia, national and transnational public spheres, and migrants and their offspring lack the tools to fully grasp the situation, which is characterized by complexity and uncertainty.

The present book sheds light on how economic drivers, societal factors and legal norms shape today’s migration and integration patterns in Switzerland. Thus, it investigates not only how permanent and/or temporary today’s migratory patterns really are but also how Switzerland’s selective regime of migration and mobility influences existent patterns of inclusion and exclusion. The notion of the Migration-Mobility Nexus, sketching a continuum between the two poles of migration and mobility, both at a theoretical and an empirical level, serves as the conceptual and overarching framework for the present book.

This introductory chapter sketches this framework and introduces the research questions, objectives and key issues addressed in this book. First and on a theoretical level, the two paradigmatic lenses of migration research and mobility studies are presented. Second, the transformation of European migration regimes since the 1970s and its effect on the patterns of migration and mobility is discussed. Third, Switzerland, being part of the European Migration Regime in transformation, can be used as a laboratory to understand the changes in and of an advanced post-industrial society. To this end, we provide a short empirical overview of the immigrant population and their living conditions in Switzerland. Fourth, the chapter provides a set of analytical questions that will be addressed throughout this volume – by means of the Migration-Mobility Survey data – and discussed in the concluding chapter.

1.2 Two Theoretical Lenses: Migration and Mobility Studies1

Classical migration research emerged at the end of the nineteenth century at the University of Chicago. This research has traditionally addressed human mobility, focussing on its national governance through the paradigm of assimilation (reframed in the last 30 years in public discourse as “integration”), opposing in remote times nativist and anti-immigrant groups that, based on eugenic arguments, wanted to prevent immigration of undeserving new migrant groups (FitzGerald and Scott 2014). The notion of “migration” highlights the capacity of a nation to define who belongs to the state and who does not. Classical migration research, therefore, operated from the perspective of the host societies and their capabilities to assimilate migrants. Since then, migration was and remains publicly debated around the concepts of integration or assimilation.

As framed in Critical Mobilities (Söderström et al. 2013, p. 9), uncoupling migration from the nation-state framework entails conceiving it as a phenomenon embedded in a larger context, be it regional or global. Such a conceptualization was already foreshadowed in the earlier structuralist works of Piore (1979) and Castles and Kosack (1973), or in the adaptation of migration studies to international system theory by Portes and Walton (1981), who foregrounded power relations and structures of economic dependency between the “West and the Rest” (Hall and Du Gay 1996). At the same time, studies of transnationalism (Glick Schiller et al. 1992; Kleger 1997) and hybridity (Werbner and Modood 2005) emerged, opening up new perspectives on the mobility of people, objects and ideas. Such studies do not consider migration a one-way and once-and-for-all movement from a place of origin to a destination. In contrast, interactions between these two, or more, countries occur within various transnational networks in which migrants are embedded. This behaviour led to numerous empirical studies exploring cross-border kinship relationships, transnational flows of remittances, and double incorporation of migrants into two nation-states.

Connected to these trends is the emergence of a dual regime of migration and mobility. The latter is characterized in Europe, first, by the establishment of the free movement regime applicable to the nationals of the EU/EFTA member states and, second, migration being defined by the rules for controlling the entry, admission and stay of third-country nationals. This statement is particularly true for Switzerland, one of the leading Western economies, which is heavily dependent upon a migrant workforce to sustain its pace of economic growth.

Increasingly, scholars from geography and social disciplines, searching in parallel for new conceptual, theoretical and methodological approaches, share the assumption that our times are characterized by increasing mobility (Maurer 2000). Thus, “mobility has become a most suitable trope for our time, an era accelerating at what appears to be ever faster rates of speed” (Tiessen 2008, p. 112). Therefore, mobility studies highlight the dimensions of circularity and movement as constitutive elements of human societies, in particular in the scaled-up context of globalization (Cresswell 2006). Mobility studies connect the movement of people more systematically with the global circulation of ideas, goods and objects.

Several studies suggest the acceleration and diversification of the types of mobility and their increasing role in reorganizing society and the labour market (Latour 2005, for instance). With the rapid intensification of travel – whether physical (people, goods, and materials), imaginative (knowledge, ideas, and images), or virtual (money, information, practices, and e-mails) – the fact of movement, its meanings and implications must be studied in their own right and as affecting the very constitution of societies (Cresswell and Merriman 2008; Urry 2007; Watts and Urry 2008). Mobilities are also linked to the question of inequality; the capacity to move is not the same because of differences in social, financial and human resources. Indeed, mobility studies have been criticized for overlooking the political and economic structures that underlie the different possibilities to move. It has been argued that the epistemology of mobility reflects an ideology of free movement. Mobility studies should therefore rethink the extent to which migration as a phenomenon must be defined in terms of, and derived from, the needs of the state to classify spatial mobility in a particular way. Therefore, we first must understand the power of the state to classify different types of mobile subjects and their practices (Favell 2007). In general, an international migrant is defined as a person who lives in a country other than his country of origin for a certain minimum length of time – according to the United Nations, 12 months for a long-term migrant and 3–12 months for a short-term migrant. Others who cross borders – such as tourists, business people, and international students – are not only excluded from the definition of a migrant but also invisible in the classical migration research due to the lack of registration, the short duration of their stay, the unpredictability of their settlement and the lack of interest from researchers. Moreover, the identification in migration surveys or population registers of an increasing group of mobile persons who live in two or more places – for instance retired persons, businessmen and businesswomen – is challenging and can differ from one country to another (Poulain et al. 2006). Migration studies are also a policy-driven field in which academic debate often follows political contention, for instance in terms of categorization of migrants into “wanted” and “unwanted” migrants from the perspective of the “receiving” society.

The dismantling of fixed borders, boundaries and conceptualizations underlying standard definitions of migration is a necessary move towards a critique of the fixity of categories, which the mobilities paradigm calls for. In the nexus between migration and mobility studies lies the potential of a combined approach. Instead of focussing on legal boundaries and borders, migration and mobilities must be studied as objects that are created and negotiated within the organization of labour division, state practices, transnational family making and material exchange (Rouse 1991) and that allow for different practices of spatial mobility. This structure is the paradigm change of the Migration-Mobility Nexus, in which the agency of migrants and mobile people becomes essential for its understanding.

Therefore, this book will give large space to current patterns of mobility to Switzerland, its intermediaries, intervening networks and social capital, the socio-economic inclusion of these newly arrived persons, its habits and societal life as much as their transnational habits and future expectations, going beyond the traditional frame of migration studies to grasp new realities as experienced by mobile persons.

1.3 A European Migration Regime in Transformation

Historical research usually addresses migration as an often-neglected element of Europe’s modernization that facilitated the necessary economic adjustments. A characteristic feature of early migration regimes in the late nineteenth century was that they were anchored within the emerging framework of modern nation-building. In the interwar period (1918–1939), Western states started to make a clear distinction between their own citizens and those belonging to another nation-state. This differentiation was necessary to lay the foundation for the birth of the welfare state. It is against this backdrop that the imposition of legal restrictions on immigrants entering the country or its labour market should be understood. The instruments of legal restriction took different forms, such as visa regulations to control entrance, the tying of visa issuance to labour market permits, and the decision to restrict the access of refugees and to monitor aliens within a country’s borders.

Following the discontinuity caused by the two world wars, post-war Europe’s immigration policies rebooted and were characterized by temporary labour and postcolonial recruitment policies. Its immigrant policies were shaped by the paradigm of (segmented) assimilation into the expanding national welfare states. However, since the oil crisis and the acceleration of globalization in the 1970s, the Fordist consensus had been transformed (see for example Castles et al. 2013). One could argue the spatial and political rearrangement of movement in Europe that has since occurred has been driven by the fluid – and often contradictory – processes of global marketization and regional securitization and by the rising influence of human and migrants’ rights regimes.

Indeed, in the wake of the oil-crisis in 1973, many Western countries were struck by de-industrialization and unemployment. In reaction, many countries clamped down on the recruitment of migrant workers either by restricting the delivery of working permits (as was observed in Switzerland) or by tightening the criteria for citizenship eligibility to former colonial subjects (i.e., UK). In reaction to the strengthening of populist anti-immigrant voices, possibilities for legal entry for migrant workers, particularly for those from non-European countries, were restricted. However, some innovations of the post-war era had changed the conditions of nationally sovereign governance of migration. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Refugee Convention (1951), and the emergence of the national welfare state – as the legitimate institutionalized form of organization of the political system that promotes chances for inclusion based on external closure – expanded the realm of those protected by substantial equality and solidarity (Jacobson 1996; Soysal 1994). Since then, the political semantics of solidarity and equality have been expanded to all those who contribute to the welfare of the nation, but at the same time reinforcing social differentiation and individualization. The nation state found itself caught in the “liberal paradox”; because it aimed to maintain control over its borders, it needed to resort to illiberal means, such as legal and political closure. In this sense, international human rights law and the protection of migrants by the welfare state impeded governments from deporting important numbers of unwanted temporary migrants even during economic downturns. In contrast, the state has found itself forced to allow family reunification and grant immigrants equal rights in a number of domains (Joppke 1998). In contrast to the earlier intention of labour rotation, migrants settled permanently in the Western countries as a sort of set of new ethnic minorities. Although provisions for the legal and social inclusion of established minorities were implemented and multicultural policies of recognition were slowly introduced in some countries, minorities often experienced discrimination in the labour market, in education and in housing for the above-mentioned reasons. Consequently, they often remained in the lower strata of the labour market, or they were channelled into welfare assistance. Hence, one secondary effect of the liberal paradox became palpable; immigrants, the former guest-workers and colonial subjects, even when included in the social security systems of receiving societies, faced important difficulties in joining the political realm that is characterized by equality of full citizens.

As a reaction to the global economic crisis of the 1970s, many Western industries outsourced production to former colonies in the frame of an international division of labour. Thus, new service economies were established in Europe, from where the global and flexible chains of production were managed (Castells 1996; Harvey 1990). Such outsourcing was increased after the fall of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the resulting increase in the commercial links between Western European countries and emerging countries in Central-Eastern Europe. The transformation of the European economy, giving space to more flexible forms of specialization, occurred at the same time as the Single Market Project was realized in Europe, which led to the abolition of borders in the Schengen area and the solidification of external borders through the Dublin Convention. Within the EU, a dual migration regime was installed that was believed to give rise to the more efficient allocation of labour within the member states. Similarly, this new international division of labour led to a curtailment of channels of legal entry into labour markets for so-called third country nationals, with the exception of highly qualified personnel.

In reaction to this debate, Swiss immigration policy was fundamentally reformed. The new immigration model formulated in early administrative papers established distinctions based on country of origin. The “inner circle” included the EU and EFTA states, for which free movement was provided. The express objective was to enable Switzerland to adopt a more European orientation because it was assumed that European labour and highly qualified persons from the “second circle” (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and several small European states) would meet with less resentment than would those from the “third circle” (rest of the World), thus minimizing the continuous politicization of migration. Moreover, a statutory definition of integration was laid down for the first time, with corresponding measures that also considered the desire to ease naturalization.

In this context, a dual migration regime evolved that gave rise to important reconfigurations of extant patterns of inclusion and exclusion. Although migration by low-skilled working migrants was impeded or redirected to the asylum channel, highly skilled professionals were attracted as staff for the headquarter economies in the “global cities” (Sassen 1991). As an integral part of this dual migration regime and freedom of movement within the EU, the internal and external borders of the EU have been more strongly controlled and regulated by legal, technological and political means (Feldman 2012).

In Switzerland, this change was accompanied by the opening of the labour market through the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons within the European Union, which entered into force in 2002 and constituted a watershed change in Swiss migration policy. The quotas and priority for Swiss nationals – the hallmark of corporatist immigration policy catering to sectoral and regional political interests since the 1950s – hence appeared to be outdated. This arrangement imposed a new dynamic on the Swiss labour market, with its protectionist-corporatist contours, which had formerly been geared to the domestic economy. Concerning immigration into Switzerland by non-Europeans, by comparison, the new Immigration Act in effect since January 1, 2008, still contains restrictions prioritising labour urgently needed by the economy due to special qualifications. The referendum held on February 9, 2014, however, in which 50.3% of the eligible population voted in favour of stemming “mass immigration”, has cast doubt on the freedom of movement negotiated with the EU in bilateral treaties. Although the voting called for quotas, to appease the European Union, in its implementation law, the Swiss Parliament ordered employers to prioritize Swiss residents rather than foreign workers in locations in which the unemployment rate is above average.

Summarizing, since the oil crisis and the acceleration of global trade in the 1970s, the Fordist consensus has been transformed as much as migration as a condition to let this regime work. One could argue that the spatial and political rearrangement of movement in Europe that has occurred since then has been driven by the fluid – and often contradictory – processes of global marketization and regional securitization and by the rising influence of human and migrants’ rights regimes. In particular, this transformation must be viewed against the backdrop of the rise of the European service economy and a “new international division of labour”. Connected to this larger process, one can observe the emergence of a dual regime of migration and mobility that, in the Swiss case, has been characterized by the establishment of the free movement regime applicable to the nationals of the EU/EFTA member states and, second, by restrictive rules for controlling the entry, admission and stay of third-country nationals.

1.4 New Migration and Mobility Dynamics in Switzerland

As mentioned above, the Migration-Mobility Nexus refers to the continuum between two types of movement; at one end, migration can be defined as a one-off, long-term or permanent movement from one place to another. At the other end, mobility can be defined as (a series of) multiple, temporary movements between different places. This nexus englobes the differentiation of inclusionary and exclusionary logics in the regimes, and the realities of migration and mobility have given rise to new dynamics in different domains. Those emerging in contemporary Switzerland are the following:
  • Demographically, new patterns and types of migration and mobility are observed, i.e., the increase in highly skilled professionals and the rise of circular migration. However, the lack of the statistical infrastructure in Switzerland to identify those new types made necessary the provision of new instruments to grasp these new realities through the launching of the Migration-Mobility Survey (see Chap.  2 of this book) and the realization of this book.

  • Economically, multi-layered market mechanisms have become important drivers of not only the volume and direction of the flows but also the inclusion and exclusion of migrants in national and local labour markets.

  • Legally and politically, the terms of sovereignty are being re-negotiated among the federal, national and supranational levels. As part of this shift, the different levels of the state are re-positioning themselves in a field of multi-scalar governance, an evolution that can affect the integration of migrants and their aspirations towards political participation.

  • Finally, at the societal level, lines of exclusion and inclusion are being readjusted according to gender, class, ethnicity, origin and religion and according to new discourses on integration, human rights and anti-immigrant stances.

Those different dynamics affect the transformation of a society in which the patterns of immigration are evolving quickly but are also diverse and in which the inclusion of migrants in the labour market and the society more generally differ according to their sociodemographic characteristics, in particular in terms of gender and origin. Due to the availability of new survey data and the development of statistics based on population registers that provide new tools to analyse migration (Steiner and Wanner 2015), Switzerland can be considered a laboratory in which to test how migratory patterns and trajectories have been shaped by the interplay of legal norms, economic drivers and societal factors. All three influences have been strongly pronounced in Switzerland, a country whose population today consists of 25% foreigners and almost one-third foreign-born individuals, shares that are even higher when the labour market population is considered or within the main agglomerations of Switzerland (Basel, Geneva, Zurich).
Since the late nineteenth century, high demand for foreign labour has attracted migrants to Switzerland, where they found one of the most liberalized labour market policies in Europe. In the last two decades, the implementation of the dual regime of migration and mobility led not only to a shift in the characteristics and the diversity of the flows but also to a significant increase in the demographic effect of migration. Currently, migration flows contribute directly to the relatively important demographic growth observed in Switzerland compared with its neighbouring countries (Fig. 1.1). However, they also affect the so-called natural increase by contributing to the natality of the population living in Switzerland. The growth rate of the Swiss population since the beginning of the twenty-first century has been three times higher than the one recorded in the EU-28/EFTA and has been significantly higher than that of all bordering countries. This situation, together with the increase in the proportion of migrants and their children in the population, is often referred to in political discourses, in particular prior to migration-related referendums or initiatives.
Fig. 1.1

Growth rates by components and of the total population, EU-28/EFTA countries, Switzerland and some of its neighbouring countries, 2000–2015

Source: Eurostat and Destatis, https://www.destatis.de/EN/PressServices/Press/pr/2013/05/PE13_188_121.html. Accessed 29 September 2016

Although impressive, the Swiss case is representative of the situation observed in most industrialized countries. According to the OECD, all member states of the organization with accurate statistics on migratory flows recorded a positive net migration in 2015.2 However, small countries benefitted more from immigrants, relative to their population size, than did larger countries. It is therefore not surprising that in 2016, the immigration rate was the highest in Luxembourg, with 39 new immigrants per 1000 inhabitants, followed by Malta with 37‰, Switzerland being ranked sixth with a rate of 18‰.

The general increase in immigration flows to Switzerland but also to other EU-28/EFTA countries is, inter alia, also due to an increase in intra-European migration flows. In 2016, according to Eurostat, 6 of 10 migrants moving to Switzerland came from an EU-28 country, a proportion that is only higher in Slovakia, Iceland and Luxembourg (Fig. 1.2). With the disappearance of borders between nations in Western Europe, international migration progressively merges with internal mobility, and one can observe in some places, such as in Geneva, an increase in (residential) international migration, even among persons keeping their job in the city. Other forms of migration, some of them having lost importance since the 1970s, also re-emerged, such as temporary or seasonal migration. Finally, other mobility behaviours appear, for instance circular migration, supported by a better knowledge of job opportunities in connected labour markets.
Fig. 1.2

Nationality of immigrants in EU-28/EFTA countries, 2016 (in %)

Source: Eurostat Database, http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database. Accessed 5 May 2018

In addition, the dual admission regime supplies Switzerland’s service economy with the required highly skilled labour. The relationship between the labour market and migration being so important, the demands of the labour market profoundly affect the socioeconomic composition of the flows. In the last decade, 60% of adult immigrants who have entered Switzerland held a tertiary level of education. In 2010, and in terms of the highly skilled migrant stock, Switzerland was ranked sixth out of all OECD countries, after the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel.3 Both the share and the number of tertiary educated migrants have significantly increased in the country since the end of the twentieth century. Today, approximately 70,000 highly skilled adults enter Switzerland every year, primarily for job reasons (Fig. 1.3). In fact, due to the specialization and tertiarization of the Swiss economy since the beginning of this century, the native newcomers entering the labour market have not been able to fulfil the demand of the economy, increasing its demand for foreign highly qualified labour.
Fig. 1.3

Level of education of immigrants according to the year of arrival, Switzerland, 1991–2014

Source: Own estimation based on the Swiss Structural Survey

Nevertheless, the majority of migrants that arrived in the last 10 years in Switzerland did not have strong links with the country beforehand. In fact, fewer than 10% of the sample in the Migration-Mobility Survey were cross-border commuters before migrating to Switzerland, and more than 90% had never lived in Switzerland before (Table 1.1). Moreover, less than one-third of migrants had relatives in Switzerland when they arrived. However, and compared with less-educated migrants, tertiary educated migrants are more frequently in their second (or more) stay in Switzerland but are less concerned by the presence of relatives in Switzerland prior to migration. These last results indicate that the context of immigration differs according to the educational characteristics of the migrants. The less educated are more frequently involved in family migration (including family reunification, but also migration driven by the family networks, as suggested by the new economy of migration (Stark and Bloom 1985)). However, the highest educated are more likely concerned with a mobility referring to the labour market, without the support of the family (and by extension without the support of for example a social network or friends in the destination country), but eventually relying on external reallocation services.
Table 1.1

Connections with Switzerland at the time of migration, 2016 (in %)

 

Former cross-border commuter

Already Lived in Switzerland

Relatives already in Switzerland

N

Gender

Men

10.0

8.9

24.8

3199

Women

6.3

8.0

30.6

2774

Education

No/Compulsory

4.3

6.0

56.5

572

Secondary

9.3

6.9

33.3

1873

Tertiary

8.5

10.2

17.0

3528

Region

Germany

9.9

7.1

18.5

546

Austria

11.7

11.1

16.6

579

France

20.4

10.1

19.6

560

Italy

10.8

8.3

21.1

572

United Kingdom

3.0

14.9

12.9

525

Spain

1.4

8.0

26.4

530

Portugal

2.5

7.9

57.7

583

North America

0.5

14.1

20.1

570

India

0.7

10.2

17.4

573

West Africa

1.4

9.5

42.9

410

South America

0.7

6.2

34.4

525

All

8.4

8.5

27.3

5973

Source: Migration-Mobility Survey 2016. Weighted results

Unsurprisingly, spatial proximity improves professional links with Switzerland prior to the migration, as can be observed with French immigrants; more than 20% of the migrants were already cross-border commuters before their migration to Switzerland. The actual immigration to Switzerland represents for those migrants an extension of their prior working experience. Portuguese migrants, in contrast, generally arrive without a professional link but frequently with relatives already living in Switzerland (close to 60%), demonstrating the capacity to be supported in the migration trajectory by the family or the network.

In total, approximately 60% of the migrants surveyed mentioned professional reasons to move to Switzerland, whereas only 8% mentioned education or study reasons. Professional reasons are more frequently mentioned by men than by women, a result that confirms the gender dimension of migration. Gaining new experience, lifestyle or starting and accompany families (particularly among women migrants) are also reasons that are relatively frequently mentioned to explain the migration to Switzerland (Fig. 1.4). Although Switzerland mostly attracts professional migrants, the diversity of reasons mentioned suggests the complexity of the logics explaining today’s patterns of mobility and migration. This complexity, which is one of the characteristics of the Migration-Mobility Nexus, will be explored throughout this book as a factor of inclusion and exclusion or of integration and discrimination.
Fig. 1.4

Reasons mentioned to explain the move to Switzerland, 2016 (in %)

Note: More than one response could be given, which is why the total does not equal 100%

Source: Migration-Mobility Survey 2016. Weighted results

1.5 Objectives and Key Issues of the Book

The volume seeks to clarify how economic drivers, societal factors and legal norms shape today’s migration and mobility patterns in Switzerland. Thus, it investigates not only how permanent and/or temporary today’s migratory patterns really are but also how Switzerland’s selective regime of migration and mobility influences existent patterns of social and professional inclusion and exclusion. The title of the book Realities of Migration and Mobility thus reflects the panoply of migratory patterns and realities from the perspective of immigrants. The notion of the Migration-Mobility Nexus, sketching a continuum between the two poles of migration and mobility at both a theoretical and an empirical level, serves as the conceptual and overarching framework for the present book.

To date, the consequences of the new forms of migration and mobility for the migrants themselves (in terms of social and structural integration) are poorly researched. This lack is largely due to the absence of adequate data. In fact, the adaptation of the statistical infrastructure to a new social phenomenon, such as these new emerging forms of migration and mobility, requires time. More specifically, the shift from (low skilled) labour migration to more diversified migratory flows took many national statistical systems by surprise. Information as diverse as the level of education and/or qualification of migrants, the duration of stay and the probability of return, and the social and structural integrations are often poorly documented in European countries.

Despite being one of the most important immigration countries worldwide in proportion to its population, Switzerland is also ill equipped in terms of monitoring systems and databases for tracking individual migration and structural and cultural integration. Focussing on recently arrived immigrants, the recently conducted Migration-Mobility Survey (see Chap.  2), on which the analyses of all chapters in this book are primarily based, closes this gap and thus allows for new insights into these new migration and mobility patterns, not only in Switzerland but also in other high-income countries. Therefore, the Migration-Mobility Survey has created a new instrument that not only informs about the mobility evolution in Switzerland but also is able to support future cooperative European research in this emerging field.

The mixed-mode survey (online and telephone) was conducted at the end of 2016. In total, almost 6000 foreign-born migrants, aged 18 years or older at the time of immigration, between 24 and 64 at the time of the survey, and who arrived in Switzerland within the last 10 years participated. Individuals holding the nationality of one of the following 11 countries/regions of origin were surveyed: Germany, Austria, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, North America, India, South America, and West Africa.

To address the interconnections between contemporary demographic patterns, legal regulations, political orientations and economic interests as much as the societal dynamics unleashed by a new mobility regime, the book covers different aspects of life in the host country covered by the Migration-Mobility Survey, including the family dimension, the labour market and political participation and social integration. Therefore, the collection is written from a pluridisciplinary perspective (anthropology, demography, economics, political sciences, and sociology), aiming to provide in-depth analyses of migration causes and consequences. It also considers the chronological dimension of migration by structuring the book according to the following four key issues: the migrants’ arrival, their stay, and their expectations concerning return and naturalization:
  • Part I: Migratory process and arrival in the host country

As argued, the arrival in the host country is determined by a state-driven migration policy and an economically driven mobility regime. Nevertheless, these structural conditions are experienced as constraints or facilitators according to the migrants’ agency, that is, their socio-demographic characteristics, such as level of education and origin. The first two chapters add to the Migration-Mobility Nexus by disentangling these processes at the time of immigration and by describing how they create differentiated pathways of inclusion and exclusion between different immigrant groups.

Within the context of a demand-driven admission policy in which employers play a central role for selecting candidates to migrate, Sandoz and Santi investigate the relocation support that employers provide to different groups of migrants (see Chap.  3). Using a mixed-method approach, combining the quantitative analysis of the Migration-Mobility Survey and an ethnographic study, their article thus examines who has more power to negotiate advantageous relocation conditions and, in this sense, represents a more “wanted” migrant for profit-oriented actors.

Zufferey investigates the underlying factors of both the migration trajectories and why frequent international movers have arrived in Switzerland (see Chap.  4). His chapter thus examines the heterogeneity in serial migration practices considering individual characteristics, such as the level of education, origin, and institutional dimensions.
  • Part II: Labour force participation of migrants

Not only the legal but also the economic context within which migration occurs contribute to the rapid integration of immigrants into the labour market. Due to the relatively favourable economic situation of the Swiss economy, compared with other EU countries (OECD 2015), the integration into the labour market of newcomers during the last decade was mostly rapid. However, the quality of this integration, in terms of use of skills or the level of satisfaction, is occasionally questionable, inter alia due to the acceleration and the diversification of the types of mobility. The second part of the book thus investigates how Switzerland’s selective regime of migration and mobility influences patterns of professional inclusion and exclusion.

Wanner studies the extent to which the self-declared reason for migration affects the level of integration in the labour market (see Chap.  5). A special focus lies on the integration of secondary migrants (accompanying spouses) into the labour market. He thus investigates how the motive for migration and gender influence the position migrants have in the labour force and how this position triggers a need for group-specific integration policies.

Analysing immigrants’ labour market trajectory throughout their settlement in Switzerland, Vidal considers their employment situation in the country of origin before migrating and the characteristics of the family migration process (see Chap.  6). She also focusses on the gendered dimensions of the Migration-Mobility Nexus because she examines integration patterns of women and men in comparison.

Because evidence shows that immigrants experience difficulties in finding a job that matches their human capital endowment, Pecoraro and Wanner measure the incidence of educational and skill mismatches among different groups of the immigrant population according to their origin and the status of foreign credential recognition (see Chap.  7). They thus examine whether the recognition of foreign diplomas is a factor reducing the risk of skill or educational mismatch.
  • Part III: Social life and political participation

As for the labour market dimension, lines of exclusion and inclusion are being readjusted inter alia according to gender, class, and origin. The third part of the book thus investigates the immigrants’ social lives and their political participation.

Based on several data sources, Bennour and Mantaschal investigate how cantonal norms of in- or exclusion, as expressed by cantonal integration policies and attitudes towards immigrants (xenophobia and right-wing voting), affect immigrants’ national identity in terms of their feeling of attachment to Switzerland (see Chap.  8). By focussing on the subnational policy level, this study circumvents the narrow focus on the nation-state, which is predominant in classical migration studies.

Shedding light on the mechanisms of perceived discrimination (see Chap.  9), Auer and Ruedin investigate who, among recent immigrants, is more likely to feel discriminated against and report it when asked in a survey. They examine not only the exclusionary logic of the societal sphere but also the inclusionary logic of the economic sphere and the opposition between the dual regime of migration and mobility and individual contexts.

Expanding the outlook on what counts as a political activity, Hercog investigates how various resources and forms of capital influence different types and aims of migrant engagement in Switzerland (see Chap.  10). In fact, although almost one-fourth of the Swiss population has no political rights because they hold foreign citizenship, political participation can also involve other forms such as donations, petitions, or demonstrations.
  • Part IV: Transnational life and future migratory expectations

Since the early 1990s, the Anglo-American social science literature on transnationalism has grown steadily. Transnationalism refers to the construction of social fields in which migrants create a link – imaginary or real – between their home country and their host society (Fibbi and D’Amato 2008; Glick Schiller et al. 1992). In these transnational spaces, migrants develop social and economic relationships, activities and political identities that transcend traditional boundaries and benefit from global economic processes in a world divided into nation-states. In the field of migration, the approach of transnationalism has been posed as a third approach, between the option of assimilation and that of return and between a perspective in which individual action is overdetermined by macro-social constraints and a perspective that sees it as the result of the will and preferences of social actors.

In this context, Dahinden and Crettaz study how transnational today’s migrants in Switzerland really are by considering the three dimensions transnational mobility, network transnationality and transnational belonging (see Chap.  11). The authors investigate the effect of migration regimes and social class on transnationality, mobility and migration.

Finally, and because immigrants’ intentions summarize the respondent’s attitude towards the migration experience in the host country, Steiner investigates how demographic characteristics, the feasibility of a further move, transnational ties and embeddedness in Switzerland determine different types of immigrants’ intentions, that is, remigration, or settlement and/or naturalization (see Chap.  12).
  • Part IV: Conclusions

The fifth and concluding part reviews and summarizes the contributions of all chapters in light of the Migration-Mobility Nexus. Moreover, it provides information referring to the future challenges of the Migration-Mobility Nexus in European and other high-income country settings. Overall, the book thus demonstrates how the implementation of a nationwide survey, such as the Migration-Mobility Survey, leads to new knowledge about current migration processes and helps identify approaches and solutions that can enhance immigrants’ integration when necessary. It is therefore relevant to both the scientific community and migration policy.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    This section presents a concise summary of a text written by Gianni D’Amato and published in a co-authored chapter (see Söderström et al. 2013).

  2. 2.
  3. 3.

    DIOC database 2000 and 2010, DIOC-E database 2000, http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/oso/9780198815273.001.0001/oso-9780198815273-chapter-2. Accessed 18 May 2018.

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© The Author(s) 2019

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Gianni D’Amato
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Philippe Wanner
    • 3
    • 2
  • Ilka Steiner
    • 3
    • 2
  1. 1.Swiss Forum for Migration and Population Studies SFMUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  2. 2.nccr – on the moveNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Demography and Socioeconomics IDESOUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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