• Decision about the implementation of the initiative against mass immigration

Decision about the implementation of the initiative against mass immigration

16 December 2016


The implementation of the initiative against mass immigration attracts a lot of the media interest. It's difficult to keep an overview due to all the back and forth in the decisions around the implementation. Hereafter the relevant information put in a nutshell.


On February 9, 2014 the Swiss voters accepted the popular initiative Against Mass Immigration (MEI) according to article 121a BV. The initiative calls for a limitation of the immigration of foreigners to Switzerland by maximum numbers and quotas. Further the initiative requests an adjustment of the bilateral agreements regarding the agreement about the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the European Union (EU). The results of the initiative must be implemented until February 2017.

The implementation of MEI contradicts the agreement on Free Movement of Persons. The difficulty is to find a solution to implement MEI that limits the immigration to Switzerland without jeopardizing the bilateral agreements with the EU.

Current status - 16.12.2016

The essential in brief about today's final vote of the parliament:

  • No maximum numbers and quotas to limit the immigration will apply in future in order to ensure the bilateral contracts with the EU. The immigration shall be limited by the Priority of Swiss and EU/EFTA nationals.
  • An obligation of registration of job vacancies shall apply for occupational groups, fields of action and economic areas where the unemployment rate is above average. This means that a vacant job has to be announced to regional employment centers (RAV) and by requiring this, links to an obligation to invite suitable candidates to an interview or to an assessment. The result has to be communicated to the RAV, but without further requiring to give reasons in case of a refusal.
  • Possible exceptions regarding the registration obligation are applicable for: family businesses or when the vacancy can be filled with a person that has already worked for the company at an earlier point in time.
  • The Federal Council of Switzerland plans to change the constitution after the amendment of the Aliens Act. The Federal Council has refused the RASA-Initiative that called for an elimination without replacement of the MEI article. Even though they intend to submit a counterproposal to the RASA-Initiative until end of this year that shall adapt the immigration article but not eliminate it. It is under consideration to omit quotas and maximum numbers, to cancel the transition periods or to enshrine and therefore anchor the bilateral contracts in the constitution. The counterproposal intends to give the electorate the final say.