How effective are integration policy reforms? The case of asylum-related migrants in Switzerland

22 February 2023

The marked increase of asylum seekers arriving in Western Europe in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2015 or, more recently, of the war in Ukraine in 2022, has renewed debates on policy measures countries should put into place to support the integration of asylum-related migrants. Although implemented by many countries in recent years, research has neglected the effect of integration policy reform packages combining economic and social policy measures on asylum-related immigrants’ adjustment processes. Exploiting a comprehensive integration policy reform in Switzerland, and using survey data from the Health Monitoring of the Swiss Migrant Population, and register data on the whole asylum-related population, our difference-in-differences analyses reveal that provisionally admitted individuals benefiting from the reform have higher employment probability, increased income levels, better language skills and feel less lonely or without a homeland relative to comparable asylum seekers who did not benefit from the reform. Robustness checks assessing common pre-reform trends support our findings, which highlight the importance of evaluating entire reform packages when assessing integration policies’ effectiveness.

This online lecture is part of the EuMIGS Lecture Series 2022 on migration policy and refugee reception in the (trans-) local context.

Anita Manatschal is Professor of migration policy at the University of Neuchâtel.