Swiss Voters Approve Stricter Immigration Laws

March 18, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. immigration /ˌɪmɪˈgreɪʃən/ (n.) – the act of coming to another country to stay there permanently
ExampleThe country has tightened its immigration policies.

2. poll /poʊl/ (n.) – a collection of votes
Example: The poll found that people prefer  older candidates to younger ones.

3. push for /pʊʃ fɔr/ (idiom) – to try achieving something
Example: The senate pushes for the approval of the proposed policy.

4. referendum /ˌrɛfəˈrɛndəm/ (n.) – a public voting event in which people choose whether a policy should be passed or rejected
Example: The referendum needs approval from 75 percent of the voters to pass the new policy.

5. detrimental /ˌdɛtrəˈmɛntl/ (adj.) – having bad effects or causes harm
Example: The new tax law will be detrimental to a lot of businessmen.


Read the text below.
Majority of the Swiss voters agreed to tighten Switzerland’s immigration rules,  a recent poll revealed.

The Swiss People’s Party proposed a new law that will limit foreigners’ entry in the country. This policy mainly affects citizens coming from nations under the European Union (EU). The party expects to have a fixed number of immigrants who are allowed to work in the country to give higher priority to Swiss job seekers.

Because of the economic crisis in some European countries, many people move to Switzerland for work. About 27 percent of the country’s eight million citizens are foreigners. Supporters of the proposed law worry that a higher number of immigrants might intensify problems with overcrowding, pressure on jobs, salaries, and housing. But for the Swiss government and the business sector, pushing for the policy can harm the country’s prosperity.

The referendum for the proposal obtained divided opinions. About 50.3 percent of the voters agreed with the policy, meaning the proposal passed. However, the fact that 44 percent of registered Swiss voters did not participate at the referendum needs to be taken into consideration. The largest cities also rejected the proposal, while the smaller regions supported it.

Switzerland is surrounded by 28 EU member countries. Although it is not part of the organization, it enjoys harmonious relationship with these countries by following some of the EU policies.

But in a statement, the European Commission was disappointed with the result and said that the vote might affect the relations between the EU and Switzerland. Also, a Swiss newspaper cited that the policy will be detrimental to the country’s good economy.

Nonetheless, the new immigration law is expected to be drafted by the end of this year.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can be the long-term implication of this policy to Switzerland’s economy? Explain.
·         Do you think this kind of law may apply in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What can be the major effects of having bad relations with other countries? Explain.
·         How do you think your country can ensure good relations with other nations?


March 18, 2014