The article discusses the question of immigration in Switzerland. With more than 20 per cent, Switzerland is one of the countries with the largest foreign population. It used to be a destination country for employment-seeking French, Germans and Italians. In the latter half of the 20th century however, it has hosted large numbers of Eastern European dissidents, Yugoslavian refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The inflow of foreigners from different parts of the world increases Swiss cultural pluralism and demands to pursue the proper migration and asylum policy from the Swiss state. The starting point for the philosophy of Swiss immigration policy is the search for a balance between the economy's foreign labour requirements and the demographic stabilisation of the foreign population in Switzerland, which relates to the fear of a 'over-foreignisation' (Überfremdung). This fear has played an important role in Swiss discourse on migration since the early 1920s. An evolving process of 'over-foreignisation' has represented migrants as permanently different 'aliens' and as a potential threat requiring control and supervision by the state. This article reveals the foreignisation process and explores some of the reasons for its persistence. It presents also the situation of the immigrants in Switzerland from their own perspective. Keywords: Switzerland, immigration, migration and asylum policy, Überfremdung
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