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Swiss leader addresses migration issues at global conference

October 2013, 08
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The Justice Minister for Switzerland has welcomed the opportunity to discuss global migration issues following the addition of the subject of migration to the United Nations Agenda.
In her first high level UN meeting in New York, Swiss minister Simonetta Sommaruga addressed some of the migration problems which she described in an interview to the media as 'politically charged'.

Change in global habits

Statistics from the United Nations have repeatedly shown that the habits of countries all around the world is steadily changing with migration becoming more popular than in the past.
The latest studies have shown there is currently more people living in a country other than the one they were born in than ever before and large amounts of money and wealth are being sent back home as well as invested into the economy in order to leave in the first place.
According to the UN there are now 232 million immigrants worldwide, a total of 3.2% of the global population. And last year, a whopping $401 billion was sent back home from immigrants (the transactions that were recorded by the Migration Policy Institute).

Switzerland is a famously neutral country
Switzerland is a famously neutral country

Swiss leading the way for change

The Swiss Justice Minister said that the global immigration patterns were constantly evolving with the picture today bearing little resemblance to past habits. She went on to describe Switzerland as being a typical example, previously a country where its residents left to go elsewhere, it is now a hub which attracts immigrants itself.
Sommaruga went on to insist that past stereotypes must be forgotten as many countries who currently have a reputation for having plenty of outgoing immigrants were themselves becoming a magnet for incoming visitors. The minister suggested Mexico was a prime example of this and dismissed the notion that the majority of immigrants come from southern countries. In fact, Switzerland itself receives the most long stay visitors from nations in the north.
Switzerland has worked hard to put migration issues under the spotlight in recent months. Along with Bangladesh, Switzerland has managed to persuade the UN to focus on migration and include it in their Millennium Development Goals which have a target date of 2015.

No longer a 'brain drain'

Some media reports have referred to the phenomenon of migration as a brain drain, with the best talents and knowledge leaving the country once educated. However, the UN refutes this suggestion and instead says that that many return home with valuable experiences which enhance their own culture.

Immigration at a recent press conference
The Swiss leader talked about immigration at a recent press conference
Bela Hovy is the UN chief of migration and believes that rather than the negative experiences of the past, immigrants should now be viewed as a group who 'invest into businesses' and 'generate trade'. He views them as a group which contributes to their chosen country in a wide range of difference ways and brings previously inaccessible knowledge and expertise.
Hovy is attempting to spread this message and this was one of the subjects discussed at the UN  General Assembly High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Development, held on 3rd and 4th October 2013 in New York, the same meeting where immigration was being championed by the Swiss.
Some of the targets being raised included identifying good immigration practices, how to lower the costs of migration, protect human rights and change immigration from a 'development burden into a development boon'. 

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