New Report on Sans-Papiers in Switzerland

Just a few days ago, a new report on sans-papiers in Switzerland to which I contributed was published. You can read typical news coverage here (in English), but contrary to the “10 facts about Switzerland’s illegal immigrants“, the report tries hard to present a nuanced picture. I’m particularly happy that the press release (to which we did not contribute) includes a bandwidth alongside the “best” estimate. It’s been a struggle at times to convince co-authors and others involved that aggregating expert estimations will never yield a precise number and particularly that we should communicate this uncertainty. Perhaps one day this kind of numbers will be reported using graphical representation.

More disappointing is that the press release compares the current “best” estimate with that a decade ago: with the provision of free movement of persons between Switzerland and countries of the EU a significant group of sans-papiers have become (potentially) legal residents: the comparison is not meaningful.

The report also provides a nuanced portrait of the sans-papier population; their number is just one aspect…

Morlok, Michael, Harald Meier, Andrea Oswald, Denise Efionayi-Mäder, Didier Ruedin, Dina Bader, and Philippe Wanner. 2016. “Sans-Papiers in der Schweiz 2015.” Bern: Staatssekretariats für Migration (SEM). Report available in German and French.