Description of Switzerland`s IBM model

Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP
Federal Office for Migration FOM
Reference/Document no.: COO.2180.101.7.182039 / 323.22/2010/01427
Date/Our ref.: 26 January 2012/
Description of Switzerland’s IBM 1 model
Based on the EU’s integrated border management system, Switzerland’s IBM model
comprises a number of mutually dependent levels. This document describes the various
levels (general goals, strategic guidelines, individual objectives and problem areas) and their
The IBM model pursues a number of general goals, found in the same or a similar form in all
relevant EU strategy papers on integrated border management, i.e. within the Stockholm
Programme. These also form an integral component of Switzerland’s migration policy. The
general goals can be divided into two groups according to their function: repressive
measures (left of the model) and those facilitating human rights and freedom of movement
(right of the model). As both sides are of equal importance, it is important to strike the right
balance between them so as to guarantee a common space of freedom, security and justice.
This is achieved using a strategy covering problem analysis, problem inventory, individual
objectives and an action plan.
These elements are broken down according to the four-filter model used in the Schengen
Area, comprising four complementary tiers of immigration control. This model assumes that
measures to ensure efficient and successful prevention of illegal immigration should begin
before the Schengen external border, in the countries of origin or transit, and should also
include measures within the Schengen Area.
Activities in countries of origin or transit form the first filter in the prevention of illegal
immigration and cross-border crime. 2 The second filter covers bilateral and multilateral
cooperation with other countries (primarily Schengen Member States) in a joint effort to
combat illegal immigration and cross-border crime. 3 The third filter encompasses the control
Integrated Border Management
For example, a typical first-filter activity is the visa procedure (which will soon be improved with the
introduction of VIS to issue biometric visas). Another typical instrument that has proven successful
(although not yet used by Switzerland) is Airline Liaison Officers (ALO), who assist airlines in
performing their duties of diligence (document control) with consulting and training activities.
As well as readmission agreements with other Schengen States, second-filter measures also
include, for example, participation in various European and international organisations.
activities carried out at the Schengen external border, 4 while the fourth filter covers all
measures taken within the Schengen Area to prevent illegal immigration. 5
This model, recognised in the context of Schengen, also serves as the basis for
Switzerland’s integrated border management model.
Four-filter model
(component of the EU’s system of integrated border management)
Filter 1:
Filter 2:
Filter 3:
Filter 4:
Activities in third
Cooperation within the
Schengen Aera
Measures at border
Measures within
the territory
Visa procedure
Schengen-compliant control
of external border
Targeted internal controls
Airline Liaison Officer (ALO)
Liaison Office/
Automated border control
Measures to
detect forgeries
Council Study Group
Advanced Passenger
Information (API)
Migration Attachés
Cooperation with /
sanctioning of airlines
Entry-Exit-System (EES)
Registered Traveller
Program (RTP)
Illegal immigration / cross-border crime
© BFM/SGG, 2011
Although the impetus for formulating an integrated border management strategy came from
Switzerland’s association with Schengen, and the strategy must therefore be integrated into
a multilateral environment, the Swiss border management strategy must also be aligned with
the country’s own internal security policy. The Federal Council’s final report on the Malama
postulate raises fundamental issues regarding the division of responsibilities in the
safeguarding of internal security in parallel with the work on an integrated border
management strategy. Although some of these issues also play a role in the formulation of
an integrated border management strategy, they cannot be resolved by the IBM Strategy
Group but only within the context of the task force on the Malama postulate.
The third filter focuses on technical innovations to assist in border control, such as the Registered
Traveller Programme (RTP) or Advance Passenger Information (API).
This covers all measures serving either to improve the probability of detection and/or to
improve/accelerate implementation.
General goals
The general goals can be described as follows.
Key contribution to preventing illegal immigration, particularly people
Illegal immigration takes the form of persons attempting to cross a border without appropriate
authorisation as well as the activities of international people-smuggling networks that
facilitate or enable illegal entry of migrants. Correspondingly, measures to combat illegal
immigration must include improvements in verifying entry requirements as well as
improvements in combating people smuggling by organised international networks. In
following this objective, integrated border management intentionally focuses on the various
forms of illegal immigration; it does not cover the far wider field of irregular immigration, as
not all forms of immigration outside of the designated channels (e.g. an unaccompanied
minor asylum seeker) are classified as abusive and unlawful and thus to be prevented.
Contribution to combating cross-border crime
Combating illegal immigration is not an end in itself: it is done because illegal immigration is
often the origin, prerequisite or consequence of many forms of cross-border crime. For
example, illegal immigration is often associated with and/or followed by criminal activities
ranging from human trafficking, facilitation of illegal entry, drug trafficking, criminal tourism
(burglaries and car theft or hijacking in border areas) and unreported employment, to other
offences such as terrorist acts or preparations for such attacks. Therefore, integrated border
management should also seek to combat such activities.
These should be distinguished, however, from other cross-border crimes that do not actually
involve immigration, such as money laundering or cybercrime. Such offences cannot be
adequately prevented with border management instruments, which are ultimately designed to
control persons who have crossed or intend to cross the border.
Facilitation of legitimate entry for the travelling public
In a globalised world, there is much interest in ensuring fast and simple entry procedures for
legitimate travellers.
An integrated border management strategy should therefore ensure that the entry procedure
is not unnecessarily hindered or complicated by the measures taken in its name. This is
especially so when Switzerland has a particular interest in the legitimate entry of certain
people (e.g. from the main countries of tourist origin). Border management measures should
take such national interests into account.
Making the entry procedures as fast and simple as possible for the travelling public is also in
the interests of the border control agencies themselves, enabling them to concentrate their
limited resources on passengers of doubtful legitimacy.
Border management compliant with the law and human rights principles
The fourth and last general goal is to ensure that border management measures remain
within the area of freedom, security and justice they are supposed to defend. The activities
involved must therefore have a legal basis and respect the human rights of those who are
subject to control.
Strategic guidelines
The above general goals are substantiated with strategic guidelines, which define the
principles for defining individual objectives and the action plan.
To a certain extent, the strategic guidelines reflect the association with Schengen policy; in
other respects, however, they are an integral part of any administrative activity.
As with the general goals, the strategic guidelines are applicable across the board and are
not assigned to any specific filter.
Strategic guideline 1: Border management makes a key contribution to internal
Taking a comprehensive approach to preventing illegal immigration and associated crossborder crime, border management makes an important contribution to internal security. An
integrated border management strategy must always be guided by this core function.
Strategic guideline 2: Border management contributes to security within the
Schengen Area
In joining the Schengen Area, Switzerland became part of a European security architecture.
Each Member State’s responsibility within this system extends beyond its own internal
security to that of the entire Schengen Area.
A successful border management strategy can no longer focus solely on Switzerland’s
(internal) borders but must meet the security requirements of the entire Schengen Area.
Strategic guideline 3: Border management is based on the EU’s border
management strategy and contributes to its design
Although a national border management strategy can no longer focus solely on its own
national area and must meet the security requirements of the entire Schengen Area, there
must a minimum of strategic alignment between the individual national strategies.
Such alignment is achieved by basing the national strategy on the EU’s border management
strategy, particularly the four-filter model of the Schengen border security model, and
Switzerland actively contributes to its continued development.
Strategic guideline 4: The border management strategy is aligned with other
relevant strategies
Safeguarding internal security is a typical cross-cutting issue. The integrated border
management strategy should therefore be aligned with other strategies. Where these are
known, it should be ensured that the individual objectives and the action plan defined do not
conflict with any other related or overlapping strategies. Where conflicts cannot be avoided,
these should be disclosed.
Strategic guideline 5: The border management agencies have the necessary
resources to perform their tasks with efficient use of financial resources
The volume of international travel has been growing steadily in recent years. Meanwhile,
entry procedures are becoming increasingly complex. This poses a burden on the resources
and infrastructure of border management agencies, unable to adapt to such trends, or at
least not to the extent that would be necessary. Maximising efficiency of the limited
resources available is therefore an important requirement of any border management
It should be noted, however, that if border agencies are unable to perform their legal
mandate at the required level, despite an efficient and targeted use of resources, additional
funding must be allocated in order to ensure a credible border management strategy.
Strategic guideline 6: Border management is professional, fast, consistent and
Border management agencies are usually a traveller’s first point of contact with Swiss
bureaucracy. As they often form a traveller’s first impressions of Switzerland, they are
representative of the country to a certain extent.
The agencies involved must therefore perform their tasks in a manner that is professional
(well-trained, assured, experienced, accurate), fast (meeting all legal and assured deadlines
and without unnecessary delays), consistent (uniform and non-negotiable) and appropriate
(proportionate, justifiable and correct approach).
Strategic guideline 7: Border management respects human rights principles; it
allows access to a fair procedure for those seeking protection from
Border management and its associated agencies must ensure the protection of human rights
and grant access to a fair procedure for those seeking protection from persecution, allowing
them to assert their claim and await clarification of their status.
Strategic guideline 8: Border management agencies work closely with each
other and with other relevant domestic and foreign agencies and utilise the
synergies created
The Swiss IBM model regards border management as the outcome of the interaction
between various Swiss (cantonal and federal), foreign and other European agencies involved
in different phases of the immigration process. Thus, in order to fulfil the general goals, the
various agencies and their processes should be integrated in a manner that is as
comprehensive, systematic and seamless as possible. At a national level, this concerns the
cooperation between those agencies actually involved in border management (i.e. foreign
representations, border control and customs agencies, and police forces). Systematic
cooperation with other relevant agencies (i.e. immigration, civil registry and social security
offices) should also be sought as far as possible.
Strategic guideline 9: Border management contributes to the enforcement of
removal measures
If a border management strategy also includes activities within the territory itself, as in the
case of the four-filter system, its focus should not be solely on preventing or detecting illegal
immigration and cross-border crime. The entire border management system will be more
plausible and acceptable if it also encompasses solutions for consistent enforcement of
removal measures. As well as considering how best to stem the flow of illegal immigration
and cross-border crime, the border management strategy must also address the issues of
enforcing removal measures and contribute to finding appropriate solutions.
Strategic guideline 10: Future developments / trends are incorporated into
border management
A successful strategy should serve as a system of reference for decision-makers. To this
end, a strategy must have a certain degree of consistency and take a medium to long-term
approach. It should not be geared solely to the status quo, but should also anticipate future
trends as far as possible and provide answers to various scenarios.
Problems / Weaknesses
In terms of methodology, the starting point for defining the integrated border management
strategy is a situation deemed to be in need of improvement. The strategy is primarily
regarded as a means of getting from the current situation to the target optimum situation.
This method presupposes that those areas presenting potential for optimisation in practice
have been identified and defined. This specifically refers to areas that, despite functioning
well (e.g. thanks to the commitment, initiative and/or relationships of those involved), could
still be improved with organisational, legal, structural, institutional or other changes and made
less dependent on individual players or on chance. This inventory of problems outlining the
system’s various weaknesses is therefore merely a consequence of the chosen
methodology. It serves to identify areas in need of optimisation and is by no means a general
criticism of those involved in border management or their level of professionalism and
Filter 1:
Insufficient collection, preparation and/or utilisation of information available
Push factors in the countries of origin and transit are the causes and catalysts of illegal
immigration. The strategies for implementing illegal immigration and the choice of destination
depend on a number of underlying conditions and pull factors. Knowledge of certain factors
and strategies is essential for the targeted prevention of illegal immigration. Switzerland has
a dense and efficient network of representatives in the main countries of origin and transit of
illegal immigration. However, consular staff are already working to capacity with their core
functions in visa issuance and other general consular tasks. Also, the staff of representations
abroad are constantly seeking the right balance between their work as service providers and
complying with the law in issuing visas. Their local integration, whether with the
representations of other Schengen States or with domestic agencies, depends largely on the
commitment of individual employees. In principle, the commission is supposed to organise
consular meetings on site on the topics set out in the Visa Code. In practice, however,
consular cooperation depends largely on the commitment of individual states or persons. In
addition, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, certain new responsibilities have
been assigned to the European External Action Service, adding to the complexity of the
situation. Some of the representations lack sufficiently trained experts and the corresponding
know-how, e.g. in counterfeit detection.
FDFA seminars such as “Cooperation in Migration” provide an opportunity to inform the
consular staff of representations abroad about a range of aspects concerning illegal
immigration and the prevention of people smuggling and human trafficking. This seminar is
optional, however, and can be attended by only around a dozen employees each year.
In the countries of origin or transit of illegal immigration, Switzerland offers very few or no
other services apart from visa issuance. To date (as at August 2011), Switzerland has no
Airline Liaison Officers (ALO) to train airlines in document control and has only six
immigration attachés. 6 Due to the lack of specialists in illegal immigration in countries of
origin and transit, the information available is largely provided by others, such as partner
countries or partners in the private sector (e.g. Swiss). Such information and findings are
Immigration attachés from the FDFA in Dakar, Abuja and Colombo; immigration attachés from the
FOM in Pristina, Ankara and Brussels
either of a general nature (e.g. reports on the general migration situation) or refer to specific
occurrences affecting other partner countries. There is a serious lack of any direct
relationship with illegal immigration to Switzerland.
Where first-hand information is available and is forwarded by the representations (e.g. within
the context of specific applications to the cantonal migration offices or the FOM), the
representation’s staff often have the impression that this information is not given sufficient
Equally, as the collection, dissemination and utilisation of information on illegal immigration is
in need of improvement, this also applies in the case of legal immigration. For example, as a
result of inadequacies in the preparation and use of such information, efforts to facilitate the
entry of certain categories of persons may be unnecessarily hampered due to a lack of
coordination with the border control agencies.
In summary, the following problem areas were found:
On-site findings concerning illegal immigration are insufficiently utilised in the day-to-day
work of those agencies operating in the other filter areas.
Potential for improvement regarding know-how and specialist staff in the representations
Most information comes from external sources (other partner countries or private-sector
Individuals who do not meet the entry requirements and whose transportation
should have been prevented are still reaching the external border
Switzerland has no discernible upstream strategy in the prevention of illegal immigration. As
a result, the problem of illegal immigration still occurs at Switzerland’s Schengen external
border. This may take the form of persons who do not require a visa but are travelling on a
forged travel document or persons who do require a visa and have fraudulently obtained a
visa by producing false information or documents.
Filter 2:
Switzerland’s limited institutional integration in the EU
Switzerland’s limited institutional integration in the EU is seen as an overriding aspect in the
formulation and implementation of national border management. While the classic core
elements of border management (visa and border control procedures) have been fully
assumed by Switzerland as a part of the Schengen acquis, Switzerland’s inclusion in the
European security architecture (e.g. Prüm, PNR Initiative) is outside of the Schengen
It should also be mentioned that Switzerland, as a non-EU Member State, is not involved or
only to a limited extent in certain joint systems or institutions of EU Member States (e.g.
discussions on voting rights regarding Frontex and the IT agency) and therefore does not
benefit from the associated synergies.
Insufficient cooperation and information exchange on issues of strategic policy
Cooperation in strategic policy between the Schengen Member States and other important
western partner countries (e.g. UK, Canada, US) is primarily restricted to cooperation on
committees and thus highly segmented in terms of participation. Apart from Schengenspecific boards and committees, there are other committees and organisational forms
dealing to some extent with issues of international travel, air travel, border control and the
use of modern technology. 7 The national agencies’ participation is thus spread over a variety
of different committees on which the administration at a federal and also a cantonal level is
represented for various purposes and interests. For the most part, participants define their
own positions and the aims they wish to fulfil through such participation. Apart from certain
exceptions (e.g. National Facilitation Committee under the aegis of the Federal Office of Civil
Aviation, coordination role of the IO and the FOJ in Schengen-related matters), issues
concerning immigration are not prepared on an inter-agency basis. Also, too little significance
is attached to follow-up, the flow of information and a long-term assessment of the value of
participating in such committees in the area of illegal immigration and border management.
Insufficient networking at an operational level
At the operational level too, there is a lack of systematic or at least regular exchange
between the Swiss and foreign border control agencies. The contacts in existence are
spontaneous, personal and not formalised. Exceptions include the use of a German liaison
officer from the federal police with the Border Guard as well as the two Cooperation Centres
for Police and Customs (CCPD) in Geneva and Chiasso, focusing on classic cross-border
police cooperation (under the aegis of the Federal Office of Police) and not the prevention of
illegal immigration. Restrictive regional and language features also need to be taken into
consideration, as these may specifically facilitate or even hamper cross-border contact. For
example, the contacts that Zurich airport police have with airports in Germany are rarely
used by Geneva. The use of regional police conferences is also restricted to certain regions
and language areas. On the other hand, such cultural, political or language specificities may
mean that information and findings at a tactical and operational level are conveyed to other
federal or cantonal offices only sporadically or in specific cases.
It should also be noted that, where contacts do exist, they may not be fully exploited due to
the fact that the foreign partner agencies are not sufficiently familiar with the structure and
functioning of Swiss agencies.
Filter 3:
Different standards in certain areas of border control
In principle, responsibility for the control of persons at the border lies with the canton,
although this task may also be delegated to the Border Guard. As a consequence, three
different agencies are responsible for the three major Schengen external borders (Zurich,
Geneva and Basel airports). Although border control is conducted in accordance with the
formal requirements of Schengen law and is therefore uniform, the division of responsibilities
in certain areas results in differences in practice and, to a certain extent, in terms of quality.
In particular, differences exist with regard to training, the equipment available to control
agencies and the arrangements for discretionary powers in border control.
For example, IATA CAWG (International Air Transport Association - Control Agencies Working
Group), various task forces and committees of the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation, e.g.
the Technical Advisory Group [TAG], the New Technologies Working Group [NTWG], the
Implementation and Capacity Building Working Group [ICBWG] and the Public Key Directory [PKD]),
as well as other committees such as IGC (Intergovernmental Consultations on migration, asylum and
refugees) and ICMPD (International Centre for Migration Policy Development)
Insufficient networking among the agencies responsible for border control with
regard to information exchange and cooperation
The different agencies are insufficiently networked and, unless the impetus comes from
outside, make little effort to formulate a joint set of best practices or to exchange information
among each other. The latter is mainly done informally and at the initiative of individuals. A
regular or even systematic exchange of strategic and operational findings exists only in
certain sub-areas (such as forged documents) or through the Border Guard’s liaison office
with the Federal Office for Migration and the Federal Office of Police (fedpol).
Growing computerisation of border control raises new challenges in the
control of persons
The control of persons at the border is increasingly supported by technical tools. Travel
documents are already systematically scanned at border crossing points, and the personal
details of certain travellers, depending on their status, are matched against various
databases (SIS, RIPOL, ZEMIS). The level of computerisation will increase further with the
introduction of the Visa Information System (VIS), for biometric visas, and the automatic
border control currently in pilot operation. This trend will continue into the foreseeable future
with two more IT systems, the Entry/Exit system and the Registered Traveller Programme.
There is a danger with such developments of focusing solely on the technical (digital) factors
to the detriment of “soft” factors, such as a contradictory behaviour or appearance or other
unusual profiles. The staff are not sufficiently aware of such issues and their training does
not cover this point satisfactorily.
The break-down of responsibilities also entails a certain degree of systemic inefficiency, with
very few synergies actually recognised and utilised (e.g. procurement/development of
technical devices).
Conflict of interests between border police and the economy
In addition, the border control agencies face a systemic conflict of interests: on the one hand,
they are supposed to work towards preventing illegal immigration; on the other hand,
however, they are also supposed to facilitate legitimate entry. Airport operators and airlines,
in particular, have a huge interest in the latter point and use international airport rankings to
put pressure on border control agencies; this may have a dilutive effect on the quality of
The issue is exacerbated by the absence of any legal basis for the use of infrastructure at
airports, which could be used to determine how much space airport operators must make
available to the control agencies and at which price. This often results in lengthy and difficult
negotiations with the airport operator, seeking to address the conflict between security
concerns and commercial interests.
Border control systems are circumvented by persons who conceal their
identity or who abuse the asylum process to prevent immediate removal
Certain persons manage to avoid or circumvent the border control system by concealing their
identity and itinerary at the border. This makes it impossible to assign the person in question
to a particular nationality or even airline.
Also, certain persons fraudulently file an asylum application so as to evade immediate
Such categories of persons are not or only marginally affected by the measures available in
the control system.
Filter 4:
The problem areas concerning this filter are characterised by the high fragmentation of
Insufficient information exchange and insufficient networking
Successful enforcement requires comprehensive and systematic cooperation between
immigration, civil registry, social security and prosecution offices at all three levels (intracantonal, inter-cantonal and between the Confederation and cantons), which does not exist
today to a satisfactory degree. This is because the required legal basis is not complete
and/or because current practice does not fully utilise the available possibilities. This adds to
the existing pull factors for choosing Switzerland as a destination for illegal immigration (e.g.
strong economy, open society, large foreign diasporas).
For example, there is no systematic exchange of data between civil registry offices (in the
case of marriages or births) and the immigration agencies, or in the naturalisation process
between the various agencies involved. With each specialist office focusing on its own core
business (civil registration, naturalisation), there is no generally applicable requirement to
obtain and assess all basic documents applicable to the case in question. This can result in
relevant procedures and information (illegal entry, illegal residence, identity theft) not being
adequately taken into account, if at all. 8 There is no exchange of data between the social
security system (AHV/AVS) and the central register of foreigners (ZEMIS) for the detection of
unreported employment, despite the fact that illegal immigration is not an end in itself and
regularly occurs in conjunction with economic objectives. There is just as little exchange of
information on cases of illegal residence, e.g. when persons cross the external border, in the
investigation of unreported employment. On the whole, therefore, various systemic
opportunities to identify and prevent illegal immigration are not utilised, whether consciously
or not.
Consequently, there is very little reliable information on the number of people living illegally in
Switzerland. Due to the lack of information exchange, it is not possible to conduct a currentstate analysis on the topic of illegal immigration. This would be necessary, however, for the
planning and implementation of operational measures or for a debate on policy strategy that
also takes legislative consequences into account.
The following problem areas have been identified:
Lack of, inadequate or unsystematic alignment / networking of the various agencies’
Systemic potential for identifying and preventing illegal immigration is not or is not
systematically utilised
Insufficient awareness of the forms and range of illegal immigration within the territory
due to insufficient information exchange
Positive examples of improved cooperation in data exchange are the amendments, in force since 1
January 2011, to the Federal Act on the Information System on Asylum and Foreign Nationals (AFISA)
and the Civil Partnership Act. These changes require foreign-national fiancé(e)s preparing a wedding
to provide proof of legal residence in Switzerland. Also, the civil registry offices have extended access
to ZEMIS, the central immigration information system, and are obliged to notify the relevant agency of
any such fiancé(e)s who cannot provide proof of legal residence. These modifications also apply in the
case of registered partnerships.
Uneven distribution of the enforcement burden sets false incentives
The given allocation of responsibilities is still based on regional (i.e. cantonal) responsibility
and, as such, conflicts to a certain extent with attempts to prevent illegal immigration in
increasingly larger structures, i.e. on a multilateral basis. The current allocation of
responsibilities thus encourages a primarily regional approach to preventing illegal
immigration, making it harder to define a procedure that addresses both national as well as
Schengen-wide interests.
There is very little incentive to promote a pan-regional (i.e. inter-cantonal or even national)
approach to preventing the phenomenon, in the manner of the cost compensation between
Also, a canton that is particularly meticulous and thorough in enforcement is not rewarded for
its efforts but, instead, is actually burdened more, e.g. by having to invest in additional
enforcement infrastructure (such as detention centres). This creates an incentive to transfer
responsibility to another agency or even not to handle individual cases at all in the hope that
they “sort themselves out” as the illegal immigrant continues on to another canton or another
country. Such incentives are particularly strong in cantons facing disproportionately high
enforcement costs on account of their geographical proximity to an internal or external
In particular, the following problem areas have been identified:
Too many case numbers (well above a critical mass) results in quality problems; too few
case numbers (significantly below a critical mass) results in insufficient awareness and
inefficient parallel structures, which may also lead to quality problems.
Promotion of a regional rather than national / Schengen-wide approach and procedure
Thorough efforts in enforcement are “rewarded” with additional burdens
Promotion of an attitude of transferring responsibility to other agencies
Allowing illegal immigrants to continue their journey is seen as a problem-solving option
Discrepancies in practice and weaknesses in the identification of forgeries,
investigation, prosecution and enforcement (use of force/removal)
Clear discrepancies exist between the cantons with regard to the detection, investigation and
prosecution of immigration-relation offences, the enforcement of removal measures and the
arrangements for use of force. Such discrepancies are not necessarily negative; however,
they do have adverse consequences if they prevent the development of best practices
supported and observed by all agencies or lead to circumstances that conflict with the
overriding, i.e. national interests or the interests of the Schengen community.
For example, cases are regularly found where Swiss residence permits are fraudulently
obtained with forged travel documents. Forged passports from EU Member States are
primarily used in such cases although those from other countries are also sometimes used.
The holders thus appear to have a legal status in Switzerland even though their identity is not
clear. This results from a lack of awareness and, to a certain extent, know-how among the
agencies issuing residence permits.
In the combat against people smuggling, there are weaknesses in arresting and processing
smugglers in the border areas. If people smugglers lower down in the hierarchy are stopped
at border crossing points by the BG, the cases are processed within the context of the
delegated competencies and thus in a simplified procedure. The suspects are questioned on
their act, reported and released, and judgments in absentia are pronounced with minor
punishments. Information on organised networks (evaluation of mobile phones, satellite
navigation systems, perpetrators’ relationships, etc.) is generally not gathered and evaluated
when individual people smugglers are intercepted at the border or forwarded to the criminal
investigation department of the relevant cantonal police for further investigation of the
organised groups behind them. The cantons have little interest in following up on and
investigating such cases and have little specialised investigative capacities, i.e. expertise and
resources, to consistently pursue any such leads. The criminal prosecution of people
smugglers in Switzerland is thus restricted to the sentencing of perpetrators solely for the
facilitation of illegal entry in individual cases; findings from the apprehension of smugglers at
the border are not used against the underlying networks running international peoplesmuggling operations.
Also, for example, the legislative leeway available to the enforcement agencies is sometimes
used to offset the impact of having insufficient resources (especially detention places). This
creates a certain reciprocation between the official policy, the resources available and local
enforcement practices, which cannot be simply described as cause and effect.
Finally, it should be noted that enforcement in immigration law sometimes fails or is at least
hampered as a result of unresolved inconsistencies in policy. One example of this is the fact
that some migrants living and working illegally in Switzerland are legally (and voluntarily)
paying social security contributions.
Overall, the following problem areas have been identified:
The fragmentation of responsibilities and a generous power of discretion among the
enforcement agencies hamper the establishment and implementation of national “best
practices” in the investigation, prosecution and enforcement of removal measures.
The actual practice in investigation, prosecution and enforcement is determined by
various criteria, some of which are extraneous (e.g. policy orientation, as well as the
availability of specific know-how and enforcement resources).
Unresolved policy inconsistencies hamper enforcement.
Enforcement is circumvented by individuals who evade immediate removal by
filing futile asylum applications
Certain categories of asylum seekers file their applications only after they have been
intercepted inside the territory and are consequently threatened with removal. In such cases,
the asylum procedure is frequently abused to secure a temporary right to stay and to escape
the threat of immediate removal.
General / filter-independent problem areas:
Information and analysis weaknesses
Information and analysis weaknesses can occur with all filters. Specifically:
The representations abroad (Filter 1) often lack clear instructions regarding the information
needs of the various agencies involved in border management. Although a standard
reporting protocol has been introduced for the representations, there is not yet any
substantial improvement in exchange. Another problem is the fact that the representations
often receive no feedback on the information furnished. There is thus no standardised,
circular flow of information.
In principle, the agencies working in border control (Filter 3) collect and analyse by
themselves, and thus on a decentralised basis, the data needed for assessing their situation.
However, the most important data is collected by the FOM monthly and subsequently
aggregated and made available to the border control agencies and the representations as
part of an integral survey of the external border. Every three months, the FOM interprets the
data collected in this survey and places it in a wider context. As an actual analysis of this
data cannot be based solely on static fundamentals but also requires profound operational
findings, a professional, systematic and national analysis is now carried out.
This weakness is even more evident in the findings on the various forms of illegal
immigration and/or cross-border crime within the territory: given that the responsibilities are
so highly fragmented (26 cantons and the BG), there are no reliable statistics on
interceptions within the territory. It is not even possible to make extrapolations based on the
BG’s information (which is generally available), due to the different responsibilities within the
individual cantons. Where cantonal statistics do exist, it is not possible to filter out those
cases that the BG already intercepted, recorded in the statistics and subsequently forwarded
to the cantonal agencies, leading to distortions in the statistics. Furthermore, a horizontal
audit of the statistics does not provide any conclusions, as the extent of underlying controls
differs and cannot be evaluated. Even in the area of operational findings, which would be
crucial for an analysis, the overall structures are not available. This is evident, for example, in
the fact that very few findings from administrative or criminal investigations of offences in
immigration law are included in and thereby affect the situation analysis (the only exceptions
are reports on forgery methods and occasionally on special procedures, which are
exchanged directly between the agencies operating in Filter 3). An analysis and presentation
of the current situation in people smuggling and cross-border crime is carried out within the
Federal Office of Police, however.
Overall, therefore, it can be said that each office focuses on its own needs and carries out its
own analysis – if at all – without taking an integral approach. There is therefore a need for
comprehensive management of the relevant information from the areas of illegal immigration
and cross-border crime as well as a superordinate, integral and national analysis of this
In summary, the following problem areas were found:
There is no comprehensive management of the relevant information from the areas of
Illegal immigration and cross-border crime.
There is no superordinate, integral, national analysis of the relevant information from the
areas of illegal immigration and cross-border crime.
Where analysis results do exist, these are not sufficiently used at the operational level.
Insufficient exchange between the strategic policy and operational levels
In general, the national debate on immigration is strongly oriented to current developments
and, in particular, their impact on the area of asylum. It is therefore quite restrictive and tends
to focus on a single topic. Meanwhile, illegal immigration or the concepts and strategies to
prevent it are often left out of the discussion. Where such concepts do exist, there are certain
weaknesses in the exchange between the strategic policy and operational levels. Operational
information is not used in an appropriate form in the area of strategic policy; similarly, the
internationally formulated strategic orientation – where this exists – is not sufficiently used in
operational planning and implementation. This raises the risk of operational measures
becoming an end in themselves rather than part of an overall strategy, or of strategic
orientations being based more on opportunities than a situation analysis that includes the
partners involved.
This lack of exchange results in unrealistic expectations of the strategic requirements or the
possibilities at operational level.
Finally, there is no or insufficient association between Switzerland’s cooperation and aid
given to the countries of origin and transit of illegal migrants and measures against people
smuggling. For example, bilateral cooperation and ancillary activities with third countries are
being expanded without making such development contingent upon national measures
against people smuggling. Thus, apart from international cooperation in crime prevention,
pressure should also be put on the countries of origin and transit of illegal immigrants to take
political measures to combat people smuggling more intensively.
In summary, the following problem areas were found:
With regard to strategic policy, the topic of illegal immigration often remains in the
shadow of asylum discussions.
The strategic policy is not sufficiently based on experiences at an operational level.
The strategic orientation in preventing illegal immigration is not used in operational
planning and implementation of border management activities.
There is no or insufficient association between Switzerland’s aid to the countries of origin
and transit of illegal migrants and the measures against people smuggling.
Insufficient prevention of people smuggling
In many cases, illegal immigration is associated with illegal border crossing. Depending on
the route and distance between the countries of origin and destination, it may be necessary
to cross several borders, avoid numerous controls and deceive any number of border control
officers. This is difficult to acheive without the assistance of others more familiar with the
place and/or procedures. Well-organised, international smuggler networks operating in this
lucrative business form the basis of illegal immigration.
Therefore, the successful prevention of illegal immigration cannot focus solely on the
detection and removal of illegal immigrants. At the same time, efforts must be made to
identify and dismantle the smuggling structures that make illegal immigration possible in the
first place. This is not yet being done to a satisfactory extent.
There is no systematic follow-up to signs of people smuggling. There is no centralised
gathering and evaluation of such information, which would be necessary to obtain an overall
picture of these networks, which, by definition, operate across borders.
The following facts shape the current situation in the prevention of people smuggling:
As a rule, such criminal gangs do not meet the criteria for organised crime in accordance
with Art. 260ter of the Federal Criminal Code, which means that prosecution falls under
the cantons’ authority.
The offence is contained in Art. 116 and in Art. 118 of the Foreign Nationals Act and thus
falls under the supplementary penal provisions and not the Criminal Code.
If intelligence on people smuggling is sent to Switzerland within the context of requests
for mutual legal assistance or international police cooperation, these generally concern
several cantons at the same time.
This creates the following problems:
In the cantons it is often not the criminal investigation departments of the police that deal
with reports on people smuggling but members of the security police or the administrative
agencies for immigration. Consequently, the investigative powers of the criminal police
are not utilised, while the prosecuting agencies’ expertise in this crime form is limited.
The prevention of people smuggling is not a focal point of criminal investigations in any
canton and, as a result, no resources are allocated to this area.
When intelligence is received from abroad, the first step often carried out in practice is to
determine which canton is responsible for the investigations. By the time this question
has been resolved, police operations have already taken place abroad. As a rule, the
clarifications in Switzerland tend to end after replying to the questions from abroad.
Exchanges between the criminal police and coordination are primarily conducted by the
central office for human trafficking/people smuggling within the Federal Criminal Police
and, if necessary, following surveys of the cantonal police forces involved.
Some of the cantons regard people smuggling networks as organised crime and,
because of the strong inter-cantonal and international element, regard prosecution as
being under federal authority, thereby ensuring a greater chance of success. Therefore,
when intelligence does appear, there is very little interest in further clarifications.
However, the federal prosecution agencies do not conduct any investigations, as they do
not regard people smuggling as organised crime within the meaning of Art. 260ter.
When smugglers are apprehended – by the control agencies at the external and internal
borders – the suspects are frequently released after questioning. If a judgement is made,
it is usually in absentia and thus has no general preventative effect (cf. explanations of
Filter 4 on page 12).
Indications of people smuggling are not systematically followed up in the cantons. Only the
Federal Criminal Police acts as a central agency. In general, it can be said that any
investigative attempts that could possibly enable people smuggling networks to be targeted
are rarely followed up with the required consistency. As a result, the only means of
combating people smuggling in Switzerland is by routinely arresting lower-level perpetrators
intercepted at the border. There are no criminal investigations in this area or proceedings
opened with offers of cooperation with other countries against the criminal gangs operating in
the background. Only in certain cases has it been possible to arrest the people-smuggling
masterminds living in Switzerland, based on mutual assistance and the cooperation of the
Federal Criminal Police, and deliver these to the relevant agencies in the applicant countries.
This results in the following specific problems:
Indications of people smuggling are not gathered and evaluated with the required
Where such indications exist, the criminal prosecution and punishment of the
perpetrators often turns out to be insufficient.
Individual objectives
After adjustment of the problem inventory, and with reference to the general goals as well as the strategic guidelines, a set of individual objectives can now
be formulated, with each problem area generating several individual objectives (for example, see the detailed view for Filter 3). It was decided at this stage
not yet to assess the individual objectives for political acceptance or to omit politically controversial objectives from the list. It will be left up to the relevant
agencies in each case to decide on which of the individual objectives should ultimately be pursued.
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Staff at Swiss representations abroad
The awareness programmes should be carried out
Ad hoc training for transferable FDFA employees
are aware of the specific migratory
with specific reference to the shortage of resources
preparation and/or
phenomena in relation to illegal
(migratory pressure is not the same at all locations,
Pre-assignment meetings with ambassadors and
utilisation of
immigration and people smuggling at
e.g. Abuja vs. Dubai)
their location.
available on-site
Loss of knowledge through consular staff rotation.
Possible solution:
A country-specific training course could be developed for
this group of people. An initial step in this direction would
be to draw up a list of the relevant locations.
visa managers
Country files for the Border division
FDFA seminar on “Cooperation in migration” for
consular staff
So-called networking visits are made occasionally, when
a member of consular staff meets with an FOM
representative to be briefed before taking up a new
position. However, these visits are apparently based on
the consular officer’s initiative rather than an obligation.
Regional consular meetings are organised quarterly by
the FDFA, with the participation of the FOM and the
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
The consular representations have
Changing situations call for flexibility in terms of
sufficient qualified staff with regard to
both the number and qualifications of the staff
the number of visa applications to be
working at the representations abroad.
processed and the migratory pressure
Basic and further training of the visa staff in the
Assistance for the representations abroad from the
BG staff (agreement terminates at the end of this
at their specific location.
The FDFA intends to introduce a benchmarking
system for the allocation of consular staff. The
system will take account of all the necessary
parameters, integrating the elements of the IBM
Swiss representations draw on their
The Schengen cooperation (laid down in legal terms
network of on-site contacts within the
in Art. 48 of the Visa Code) is an important
context of local Schengen
instrument for guaranteeing a harmonised visa
cooperation to learn more about the
police and practice among Schengen States.
phenomena of illegal immigration and
people smuggling and to circulate
their own findings on these subjects.
Local Schengen cooperation on site differs greatly,
depending on the commitment of individuals.
Attempt by the Border division to establish a uniform
reporting system.
International examples:
EU ILO Network
ICMPD: MTM-iMap Informal ILO Network (Italy,
Netherlands, UK in Egypt, Ghana, Lebanon, Kenya,
Nigeria, Syria). This project is currently being
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
A circular flow of information exists
It has been confirmed that, although much
Integrated situation analysis?
between border management
information is available, this is not sufficiently
agencies and Swiss representations
evaluated and combined in a central immigration
Distribution of foreign immigration studies by the
abroad and is compiled in a central
analysis. This situation results in an information
immigration analysis.
overflow. Moreover, due to the lack of feedback, the
Management cockpit of the integrated situation analysis
informing office cannot assess the relevance of the
at the external border
Border division (e.g. GASIM)?
documents sent.
Possible solutions:
Definition of the individual agencies’ information
Set up a national information office to gather,
prepare and forward the information to specific
agencies or at least make it available.
Feedback (e.g. on reports and indications from
consular staff) could have a positive impact at an
individual level.
The objectives of tourism promotion,
Real-life example: Swiss Tourism is running a campaign
business location marketing, etc. are
in China and thus expects an increase in visa
aligned with those of visa agencies
applications, although the FDFA has not allocated any
and border control agencies.
additional funds at the same time. Improved processing
and coordination of information is crucial.
Workshop with the FOM, FDFA and Swiss Tourism
in August 2011
Establishment of a permanent committee to address
such issues
In July / August 2011, the FDFA took certain
specific measures in the representations concerned
(e.g. examination of outsourcing solutions).
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Individuals who do
The number of people who reach the
There is no network of Airline Liaison Officers
ALO pilot project
not meet the entry
external border despite not fulfilling
(ALO), which would be a central element of the
requirements and
the entry requirements is reduced.
upstream prevention strategy.
Task force "ALO assignment agreement"
Greater cooperation and information
Airlines, tour operators
should have been
prevented are still
exchange between public agencies
and the private sector
reaching the
external border
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Switzerland intensifies its cooperation
Lack of institutional involvement in some cases, e.g. in
Participation in Eurostat
limited institutional
with EU Member States in the
theory, Switzerland has a voting right in certain Frontex
integration in the
development of a European security
decisions although it has never actually had the
opportunity to exercise this.
Switzerland has a documented
position regarding the further
development of a national and
European security architecture.
Participation in international
The extent to which such coordination can take place
cooperation and
committees regarding the prevention
within the context of international migration cooperation
of illegal immigration is prepared on
should be examined.
exchange on issues
an interagency basis.
of strategic policy
The results of participation in
It has been confirmed that, although much
committees on migratory issues are
information is available, this is not sufficiently
forwarded to all federal offices
evaluated and combined in a central immigration
analysis. This situation results in an information
overflow. Moreover, due to the lack of feedback, the
informing office cannot assess the relevance of the
documents sent.
Possible solutions:
Definition of the individual agencies’ information needs.
Set up a national information office to gather, prepare
and forward the information to specific agencies or at
least make it available.
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
A regular and systematic flow of
IDAG Schengen
information exists between the federal
offices and the cantons regarding the
immigration-related topics discussed
on the various committees.
Formalised contact exists between
networking at an
Swiss and foreign border control
operational level
Currently done informally and occasionally only.
FCA access to VIS data
Deployment of a German federal police liaison office
within the BG.
Swiss border control agencies
The central office of the Federal Criminal Police ensures
regularly and systematically exchange
the international exchange of information in criminal
findings with foreign border control
investigations and represents Switzerland on
agencies on the prevention of illegal
international expert committees and task forces.
immigration and people smuggling.
National police conferences regularly
See details on the exchange between border control
The central office of the Federal Criminal Police ensures
exchange findings with other police
the international exchange of information in criminal
conferences, particularly those from
investigations and represents Switzerland on
neighbouring countries, on the
international expert committees and task forces.
prevention of illegal immigration and
people smuggling.
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Different standards
The border control agencies follow
Directives on border control
in certain areas of
uniform best practices.
Staff training follows the same
standards and is completed with a set
border control
of exams with harmonised content.
Peer-to-peer evaluations
e-learning tool
e-learning exam, based on the e-learning tool of the
BG and Zurich cantonal police, used for the
introduction of Schengen
Creation of an optional module on border control at
the Swiss Police Institute SPI
Core elements of the training / exam
Elements of the common core curriculum (CCC) for
border protection officers
Prevention of people smuggling
Language skills
The border control agencies have the
same or at least equivalent technical
Problem area
Comment / explanation
The border control agencies regularly
networking among
exchange operational and strategic
the agencies
Caution should be observed in creating additional
new committees (expenses / income)
responsible for
border control and
Most problems are regional (other threats based on
with regard to
different destinations / airlines, etc.).  no real need
for operational exchange
exchange as well
Instruments already initiated
as cooperation.
Introduction of “Border control experience days”,
similar to “SIS experience days”
Development of “modi-operandi report form”, like
the faux-doc alert reports
The border control agencies establish
a joint permanent committee on the
coordination of IT and infrastructure
Creation of an expert committee to develop
standards, carry out joint evaluations and ensure
projects in the field of border control.
compatibility of the systems.
Official internships or exchange
programmes are promoted between
the border control agencies.
Despite computerisation, the staff are
“ASPECTS” project with the Zurich cantonal police for
computerisation of
aware of the need to also consider
training on soft factors
border control
“soft” factors, such as inconsistencies
raises new
in behaviour and appearance or
challenges in the
unusual profiles.
control of persons
Synergies are sought and harvested
in the technical development and
procurement of new equipment.
Creation of an expert committee to develop
standards, carry out joint evaluations and ensure
compatibility of the systems.
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Conflict between
Legislation is in place that requires
border police and
airport operators to provide border
economic interests
control agencies with the
infrastructure needed for enforcing
Instruments already initiated
In setting up the basics: Strive to achieve the same rules
as in the Customs Act
border control and removal measures
and which specifies the extent to
which airport operators have to
contribute to border control costs.
Border control
Measures are intensified to identify
Pre-arrival document review on the plane with the use of
systems are
persons who conceal their nationality
FAREC (Face Recognition) by the Zurich cantonal police
circumvented by
and/or the airline they used in border
at Zurich airport
persons who
conceal their
identity or who
abuse the asylum
process to evade
immediate removal
Problem area
All of the agencies involved in the
enforcement process cooperate
exchange and
extensively and systematically and
are subject to a reporting obligation
where there are any indications of
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
illegal immigration or people
Systemic potential for identifying and
preventing illegal immigration and
people smuggling is systematically
Personal details are systematically
matched against the relevant
databases on the basis of the
underlying legislation and technical
facilities required.
Uneven distribution
Substantial increase in the likelihood
The following action areas are instrumental in this
of enforcement
of detection within the entire territory.
burden sets false
Adoption of widespread location-specific control and
surveillance measures
Increased sense of security among the population,
particularly in border areas
Guarantee of the required information exchange
Regular performance of a risk analysis
Establishment of concrete search criteria
The decisive and consistent
prevention of illegal immigration is
promoted by way of incentives.
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Cost compensation instruments exist
in the prevention of illegal
Supra-cantonal centres of expertise
exist for the prevention of illegal
immigration, people smuggling and
the associated and/or subsequent
Discrepancies in
Enforcement practices are aligned
practice and
with long-term national interests and
weaknesses in the
not short-term policy guidelines.
identification of
prosecution and
enforcement (use of
Overlapping in enforcement is
minimised; any remaining areas of
redundancy do not hinder
The agencies responsible for
enforcing removal measures follow
uniform best practices.
Agencies that issue residence permits
systematically check travel
documents for forgeries and have the
necessary know-how in this respect.
Training of investigative agencies is
Development of corresponding training modules at the
promoted on the subject of preventing
Swiss Police Institute SPI, analogous to the existing
people smuggling.
modules in human trafficking.
Problem area
Enforcement is
Fewer clearly futile asylum
circumvented by
applications are filed.
individuals who
evade immediate
removal by filing
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Clearly futile asylum procedures are
rejected at an earlier stage.
futile asylum
The filing of multiple futile asylum
applications has consequences for
the individual concerned.
Problem area
Information and
Results of studies flow back along
official channels to the operational
level (circular flow of information).
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
National statistics exist on the
apprehension of illegal persons and
people smugglers within the territory.
All relevant information related to
illegal immigration and cross-border
crime is analysed at a superordinate,
integral and national level (centre of
A platform accessible to all involved
agencies exists for the purpose of
circulating findings in the prevention
of illegal immigration.
Operational findings/outcomes form
exchange between
the starting point and benchmark for
the strategic policy
the strategic orientation with respect
and operational
to third countries and countries of
There is a regular exchange of
information between the levels of
strategic policy and operations.
Issues regarding illegal immigration
and people smuggling are given
higher priority in immigration policy.
Problem area
Comment / explanation
Instruments already initiated
Switzerland’s assistance to the
countries of origin and transit of illegal
immigrants is contingent upon their
adoption of measures against people
Consistency in the gathering and
prevention of
evaluation of information on people
people smuggling
smuggling in all four filters.
Consistency in the prosecution and
punishment of people smuggling.
The action plan forms the link between the problem areas and the corresponding individual objectives.
The proposed model allows for the development and documentation of strategies to
counteract the existing weaknesses.
However, it also allows for newly identified weaknesses to be easily integrated into the
system. With its overall goals and strategic guidelines, the system also guarantees the
consistency required in addressing new weaknesses.