Immigration Law

Swiss and European laws on asylum and aliens

Migration to Europe is an undeniable fact, as living conditions are better here than in neighboring regions of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Migrants encounter a diffuse attitude of rejection in most European countries because local people fear for their wealth and security.

All over Europe, rightwing nationalist parties have been exploiting the subject for their purposes.

Since WWII, Europe has aimed at approaching inner-European conflicts on the basis of the rule of law instead of arbitrary and totalitarian violence.

Thus, the fundamental rights of every individual have been vital to the foundation of the European civilization since 1948.

On that same basis, migration to Europe needs to be coped with.

Hence, it is a fatal development that depriving migrants of their rights – especially their fundamental rights – is often being postulated.

Switzerland has the doubtful privilege of being home to the first rightwing nationalist party in government that has even demanded the abrogation of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

If this trend continues, there will be harmful consequences not only for inner-European minorities, but also for the personal freedom of all people living in Europe.

The protection of wealth and security often serve as the abstruse arguments of politicians to disproportionally trench upon the fundamental rights of minorities and individuals with the help of governmental restrictions.

In March 2011, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and der European Court of Human Rights published a "Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration".

At the end of 2013, the Hirschmann Foundation invited the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR) to compile an analogous handbook about the European and federal state laws that form the framework for Swiss laws on asylum and aliens.

The aim was to illustrate in an understandable manner the complex rules of Swiss immigration laws for the practical purposes of affected people and of authorities and courts.

Since June 2015, the handbook Immigration Law Switzerland has been available in German and French. Also, the handbook is accessible electronically on the SCHR’s website (Handbuch Migrationsrecht).


Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR), Bern.

The Hirschmann Foundation contributed an amount of CHF 80,000.-.

Website: www.skmr.ch