The Migration-Mobility Nexus

The notion of the Migration-Mobility Nexus offers an analytical perspective for shedding light on the patterns of migration, which move on a continuum from long-term and permanent to increasingly more temporary and fluid.

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Three conflict lines are central to the analysis of possible changes on the migration-mobility continuum: (i) the shift of legal and judicial regulation from a national to a supranational level, (ii) the shift from state regulation toward market forces, and (iii) the impact of these shifts on social inclusion and exclusion. While all the individual projects are inter-related within this matrix, some of them focus more on the legal and economic drivers of change and others on the societal dynamics. Two projects have a transversal function within the NCCR and link to all the other projects, furnishing the underlying demographic facts and figures to inform the research in all areas of the NCCR.

Demographic Evolutions

Paradoxically for one of the most important immigration countries worldwide in proportion to its population, Switzerland is ill-equipped in terms of monitoring systems and data bases regarding individual migration as well as structural and cultural integration. NCCR research thus aims to improve methods and data in measuring and analyzing migration flows and migration-related phenomena to, from, and within Switzerland.

Legal Framework

Changes in the legal framework, which regulate migration flows to Switzerland, constitute one of the fundamental factors for shifts in migration and mobility patterns. These dynamics are heavily influenced by the international legal environment. Research in the NCCR thus identifies relevant international norms, traces the processes, through which they were created, and specifies the mechanisms, through which they influence domestic law and regulation.

Market Drivers

The Swiss labor market is one of the main factors driving immigration. Regulation of (old) labor immigration has always taken political considerations into account. Over the last decade, labor immigration shifted towards (new) mobility regulated predominantly by market forces. NCCR research examines policy and labor market interventions and the implications for society – looking at both the benefits as well as the costs of labor immigration.

Societal Dynamics

Social cohesion is necessary for collective action to take place and such action is made possible because of manifold sets of shared values within society. The changing patterns of migration and mobility have an impact on existing norms and systems of social cohesion, as they contribute to increased heterogeneity and cultural complexity. Research in the NCCR focuses on the analysis of contemporary social mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion as well as on the emergence of new forms of solidarity within the society.