This week, the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) reiterated its position on immigration at a press conference ahead of Switzerland’s upcoming federal election, reported RTS.
The party, Switzerland’s largest, also set out its stance on immigration on its website. According to party president Marco Chiesa, mass immigration and asylum chaos are Switzerland’s greatest problems. Too many foreigners are coming to Switzerland and not the right ones, he told the audience.
Since 2002, the population has risen by 20%, 20 times faster than in Germany, according to Chiesa. The fact that the economy suffers from a lack of qualified workers despite record immigration shows that not only are too many people coming to Switzerland but also that they are not the right ones, said Andreas Glarner, another UDC/SVP parliamentarian.
The party proposes changing Switzerland’s immigration system. It wants asylum applications made in transit countries or at the border to avoid the problem of rejected applicants remaining in Switzerland, it wants any applicant breaking the law to be disqualified from the asylum process and expelled, it wants an end to fast track citizenship, and it wants limits on welfare. Those who cannot support themselves with work must leave it says, citing examples of individuals unable to survive without financial support after 10 years and especially high rates of welfare dependency among people from Africa.
The party is pushing one of its favourite themes during a period when Switzerland is receiving an exceptionally high number of refugees – around 75,000 Ukrainians and 25,000 refugees from other nations arrived in Switzerland in 2022, numbers well above average. Numbers in 2023 may exceed those in 2022.
In addition, immigration is high on the list of concerns among Swiss voters. A recent poll showed immigration and foreigners were voters’ third highest placed concern after climate change and health insurance premiums. This has no doubt emboldened the UDC/SVP’s pre-election rhetoric on the subject.