Giving a Voice: Report on the Language Support for Migrants

2012 revised version available for Geneva
Photo © Zoe Wahl
Photo © Zoe Wahl
By Miklos Szilard, traduction française Namory Diakhate, traducción española Ana Beltran
28 February 2012

A new, revised version of the field study on community interpreting in Geneva is now available online.

In 2007/8, ICVolunteers carried out an in-depth field study with the aim of outlining the situation of linguistic accompaniment of migrants in Geneva. Recent developments in the Swiss policy on foreigners, and significant statistical changes since 2008, both on the cantonal and national level, called for a revision of the study.

In November 2011, the Swiss Federal Council announced its intention of revising the Law on Foreigners and their Integration (LEtr), with the introduction of more restrictive regulations. Most notably, the bill proposes an obligation for migrants to learn the national language as a condition for family reunification.

This rather negative climate, with an increasingly restrictive Swiss (and European) policy on foreigners, underlines the importance of the MigraLingua program for the migrants who arrive in the Canton of Geneva.

In 2010, Geneva experienced one of highest influx of immigration since the beginning of the 1970’s, hence calling for attention to the issues emphasized by our 2007/8 Report. The new updates of the Report are part of our awareness-rising campaign for the MigraLingua program, the purpose of which is to accompany migrants in their daily tasks, in particular those linked to school and education.

The program is a solution for foreigners seeking linguistic support, considering that there is no single place where they can find all the necessary information.

As a part of the program efforts and activities, ICV envisions a new “Giving a Voice” Report in 2013, which would encompass updated interviews with migrants, migrant associations and representatives of the public authorities, and evaluate the possible impacts of the new LEtr in relation to the situation, in general, and the MigraLingua program, in particular.

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