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-   -   Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher (https://www.englishforum.ch/swiss-politics-news/102050-compulsory-language-test-intending-immigrants-cards-says-blocher.html)

jrspet 19.12.2010 03:16

Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Yet another interesting proposal about furriners forthcoming in the New Year ..

According to 20min,

Quote:

... immigrants must prove in the future with an exam at a Swiss embassy before entering that they have mastered one of the four national languages.

In order to remain in CH, a more difficult test will be proposed...
Source in DE ( crude translation into EN here )

MusicChick 19.12.2010 04:05

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
What a xmas present.. :msnshock:

native 19.12.2010 04:23

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Clearly, this will help to keep illegal immigrants out and solve the problem with poorly integrated refugees.

MusicChick 19.12.2010 04:32

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by native (Post 1048825)
Clearly, this will help to keep illegal immigrants out and solve the problem with poorly integrated refugees.

Uhm, how will it help with keeping illegal immigrants out? Besides, poorly integrated refugees are usually poorly integrated for other than linguistic reasons (ours quite often actually grew up speaking French), one of them might be the discriminatory attitude towards them in general..

native 19.12.2010 04:34

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Maybe I was being ironic.

MusicChick 19.12.2010 04:37

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by native (Post 1048829)
Maybe I was being ironic.

Right. One never knows with natives...

HollidayG 19.12.2010 05:41

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I think that foreigners should be required to learn the language. It is not a bad idea.

Corbets 19.12.2010 06:54

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HollidayG (Post 1048836)
I think that foreigners should be required to learn the language. It is not a bad idea.

100% agreed.

That said, however, requiring them to have mastery of the language before coming here is going to seriously deplete the available labor pool for Switzerland, and I don't think that will have a positive impact on the local economy.

I'd rather support a proposal along the lines of hardening the rules for long-term immigrants. If you're here for two years, you should have developed basic skills, within 5 years you should be able to converse easily, etc - not something unobtainable or even hard, but just to force integration.

Yes, you can get by with just English - but I think it's fair to expect long-term resident foreigners to learn the local languages.

19.12.2010 07:00

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
As always, SVP, talks about a certain group of foreigners who can't speak the language, who don't want to integrate or are on the way to make a mess of lovely Switzerland.

But how about the highly educated English speaking scientist who comes to Basel to provide his intellectual capital to Novartis? Because N. can't find them within the Swiss Market? In addition some come with their kids. Are they to be discriminated as well at school ("you can't speak the language, you surely must be less smart than the German kids around you!")

If this group is affected with high or unrealistic barriers, than those will most likely not chose to come here for work.

To be honest who learns German for a stay of say 1-3 years? Ok yes, some will, but I doubt the majority will show this kind of ambition.

I also doubt that the "problem" can be solved by a language barrier.

simplon 19.12.2010 07:11

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by HollidayG (Post 1048836)
I think that foreigners should be required to learn the language. It is not a bad idea.

I agree too. But I think one should learn German, French or Italian within the first couple of years after arriving in the country. I drives me mad when I have to deal with people that have managed to live here for twenty years without knowing a word of the language.

jrspet 19.12.2010 07:22

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Refugees who enter CH and ask for protection, and when successful are granted either an F or B permit ( the latter, a fully recognised Refugee, the former as a temporary entrant ), are provided language lessons and other means for integration. Those who get to stay eventually become migrants but are not migrants at first instance.

Those who get rejected lose their temporary papers, called the N permit, and eventually become sans-papier ie without a legal right to stay.

Learning the language is an excellent idea, even for short term residents when they can - it can be easy to get an A1 or even A2 certificate within a year.

I do not think mastery of the language is required prior to coming here, perhaps at A1 / A2 would be my guess. Mastery would likely come in after arriving here and when the time comes for an upgrade from say L to B or to C or even naturalisation. Fair enough I'd say.

Some of the "reasons" provided may be acceptable by some stretch of the imagination, others probably not eg mastering the language lowers the crime rate.

Australia, if used as an example, provides AMEP ( Adult Migrants English Program ) to those who qualify to migrate first but do not meet the threshold for English. The human capital, skills, wealth and other potential contributions are much sought after by Australia and New Zealand.

Guest 19.12.2010 07:33

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I wonder if this is going to work, integration as MusicChick points out is not only about language...what if someone just comes for studying at an English program? The idea might sound good in principle but I believe it is unattainable...

Corbets 19.12.2010 07:38

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jrspet (Post 1048841)
I do not think mastery of the language is required prior to coming here, perhaps at A1 / A2 would be my guess. Mastery would likely come in after arriving here and when the time comes for an upgrade from say L to B or to C or even naturalisation. Fair enough I'd say.

Admittedly, I made my comment based on your translation above, but if I look at the source article, I see:

Quote:

Wenn es nach Blocher geht, müssen Zuwanderer künftig mit einem Sprachtest auf einer Schweizer Botschaft schon vor der Einreise nachweisen, dass sie eine der vier Landessprachen beherrschen.
My German's good but not perfect, so step in if I'm wrong - but beherrschen has got a pretty strong feel to it, no? In this context, I'd translate it to being proficient in one of the languages, which I would say is at least B1...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Angela-74 (Post 1048842)
I wonder if this is going to work, integration as MusicChick points out is not only about language...what if someone just comes for studying at an English program? The idea might sound good in principle but I believe it is unattainable...

True, integration is about more than that; but languages skills help. Every time I chitchat with a local in German (with an admittedly American accent) I score a lot of points. They don't care how good I am, they just love that I try.

Oh, and for the record, I came here just to study in an all-English program, with no intent to stay (I even went back to the States afterwards with the intention of staying there, though things worked out differently). I started learning German regardless that year. If anything, students have it easier; it's just one more topic to add to the list of homework.

biff 19.12.2010 08:53

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I think it is great that a country has four official languages, recognising that people have different languages and cultures....sort of. Or is it that Switzerland can't actually get its' act together enough to be totally united in this, and other things ( eg: no National education curriculum.)

But, if I was to become fluent in German ( dream on) get the stamp of permanency, then go and live in a French speaking part of the country, how integrated am I really? Would the next step be to say that one cannot move into a canton where one does not speak the local language?

Personally, back in NZ, I have always had the greatest of respect for the eldery Chinese women I have come across - decades in the country, children ( and grandchildren) with tertiary education, but these wise looking elders have held on to their own language and not learnt English at all. I like the differentnesses of people and love to hear a multitude of languages around me.

19.12.2010 09:27

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by native (Post 1048829)
Maybe I was being ironic.

No, you were being sarcastic. Please learn the language properly before visiting the uK. Thanks :D.

19.12.2010 09:32

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Yet again we have to realise that this is an initiative aimed at 3rd country nationals - it would not be possible to introduce this into the bilateral agreements with the EU. And, of course, it would probably be applied selectively to 3rd country nationals with the usual states being excluded or having exceptions provided.

I see more chance of English being adopted as an official language before this nonsense becomes law.

NotAllThere 19.12.2010 10:03

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
This one could solve a number of problems, according to Blocher: 'We would have fewer school problems, fewer criminals, fewer sans-paiers, less integration problems and the social system would be under less stress. "

And fewer highly skilled immigrants keeping the economy running. :msnsarcastic:

OSueco 19.12.2010 10:35

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I also think that foreigners should learn the language here, but demand it before they enter it's total idiocy (ofc expected by SVP)...good luck of getting qualified people and good luck of getting people for the jobs that swiss does not want...:D

...and it would also help if swiss would actually speak in german...the dialect is totally confusing for people coming here...

you come to switzerland, you attend GERMAN classes, you go to work and still do not understand a thing, what a scam!!!

Guest 19.12.2010 10:45

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
There are many highly skilled scientists who go to the UK and the US to share their very specialised skills- and guess what?

For ONCE, and I never thought I'd ever say that, I agree with Blocher. We are not talking here about being fluent, but about being able to communicate on a basic level. What is wrong with that - even if it is for 1 or 2 years - or for life.

Faltrad 19.12.2010 10:50

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by NotAllThere (Post 1048875)
And fewer highly skilled immigrants keeping the economy running. :msnsarcastic:

There would ust be fewer high skilled mother tongue English speakers, but more German, French and Italian speaking skilled immigrants.

st2lemans 19.12.2010 11:02

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
When I first moved to Switzerland, I moved to Zurich, but didn't speak German.

When I finally was starting to get comfortable with German (after four years), I moved to Lugano, but didn't speak Italian.

I've been in Ticino 20 years, and only in the past few years has my Italian gotten to the point that I'm semi-fluent.

BUT, before coming to Switzerland, I did speak, read, and write fluent French, so, while I've never lived in the French speaking part, I have always been totally fluent in one of the Swiss languages!

However, if they want to make it a requirement to be fluent in the language of the region where you live, most Swiss would have a problem if they are not in their home canton.

Tom

Faltrad 19.12.2010 11:10

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
By definition, they will have to treat national languages equal. It can mean however that immigrants speaking French will only get a permit of a French speaking part of the country. That again is not that easy to define, as bilingual cantons will have to be careful to respect their own laws in that matter (Bern, Fribourg, Wallis/Vallais) - same with trilingual Graubünden/Grischun/Grigioni.

Getting such a law through would be very interesting legally speaking.

Guest 19.12.2010 11:15

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I had an arrangement with our local University in the UK, hosting their top foreign scientific researchers, from Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Slovakia - their certainly worked very hard at their job AND at learning English.
I am not sure what Blocher intends to propose exactly, but I'd say after 2 years, any living here (or indeed anywhere else) should be able to communicate on a basic every day level (grammar not being important as long as it does no affect meaning overall).

I have every sympathy with those in the German speaking part - but I'd say that they should be able to communicate in standard German.

adrianlondon 19.12.2010 11:44

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

This one could solve a number of problems, according to Blocher: 'We would have fewer school problems, fewer criminals, fewer sans-paiers, less integration problems and the social system would be under less stress. "
Yeah, cos when has anyone speaking German ever been a criminal.

(From The Simpsons:
Prosecutor: What about that tattoo on your chest? Doesn't it say die Bart die?
Sideshow Bob: No, that's German
[unveils tattoo]
Sideshow Bob: for 'The Bart The'.
Parole Board Member: No one who speaks German could be an evil man.
)

olygirl 19.12.2010 11:54

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
All children in Switzerland are required to learn English at school. Therefore, by all rights and common sense, English should also be included as one of the compulsory languages that immigrants could choose to speak.

By the way, I doubt this will pass because too complicated to enforce.

Mowvich 19.12.2010 12:18

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
After discussing with some Swiss friends yesterday and some of them actively involved in politics / government, We all agreed on one thing, let's leave SVP / UDC go ahead with all their plans to limit foreigners and kick them out of the country by abusing laws and rules and throwing blatant initiatives here and there, let's see how Switzerland will survive without foreign work force / population...:rolleyes:

Mowvich 19.12.2010 12:21

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by olygirl (Post 1048942)
All children in Switzerland are required to learn English at school. Therefore, by all rights and common sense, English should also be included as one of the compulsory languages that immigrants could choose to speak.

By the way, I doubt this will pass because too complicated to enforce.

Unfortunately it will pass, SVP have great influence in CH rural areas and as long as they keep showing the natives that there's a threat from foreign immigrants, the average native will always vote yes....it's not the big cities that make a difference in votes

NotAllThere 19.12.2010 12:27

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Faltrad (Post 1048897)
There would ust be fewer high skilled mother tongue English speakers, but more German, French and Italian speaking skilled immigrants.

Bit of a pain for the multinationals who NEED good English speakers in their HQ to communicate with the rest of the world.

Faltrad 19.12.2010 13:02

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I never said it wouldn't be painful, I said there will be enough people to fill in the positions. And I was NOT implying the English speakers would totally disappear. English as a foreign language is rarely insufficient to make money. It sounds nicer in real English, but money making is not about beauty of poetry.

marton 19.12.2010 13:18

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Maybe the SVP shot themselves in the foot? I do not see this idea will restrict people coming in!
From Wikipedia
"A majority of the world's French-speaking population lives in Africa. According to the 2007 report by the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, an estimated 115 million African people spread across 31 Francophone African countries can speak French as either a first or a second language" :D

st2lemans 19.12.2010 13:18

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by olygirl (Post 1048942)
All children in Switzerland are required to learn English at school.

No, they aren't.

At least not in Ticino.

Tom

native 19.12.2010 13:25

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Slightly off topic, but I'd really like to see English becoming an official language in Switzerland.

jrspet 19.12.2010 13:29

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
I'd prefer that it did not - English is already supported unofficially in many ways. We did have a thread somewhere about English being an official language in CH, but escapes me for the moment.

native 19.12.2010 13:36

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marton (Post 1048995)
Maybe the SVP shot themselves in the foot? I do not see this idea will restrict people coming in!

That was exactly my point. Who are the troublemakers the SVP doesn't like? Will this proposal do anything to keep them out? (No.) Might it have a very adverse effect on the Swiss economy? (Clearly.) I understand that this is mostly propaganda for the upcoming elections, but I really wonder why they didn't come up with something where they wouldn't have the corporate unions against them...

marton 19.12.2010 13:39

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by native (Post 1049001)
Slightly off topic, but I'd really like to see English becoming an official language in Switzerland.

Probably more likely than Swiss German becoming an official language.

As an aside I assume this idea would prevent Swiss Germans coming in because it is not an official language :)

They would also have to staff every Swiss embassy with qualified speakers of each official language to carry out these tests. You could not carry out tests with non-qualified testers? That would lead to a lot of appeals & claims of unfairness.

All sounds a bit impractical.

Mowvich 19.12.2010 13:46

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by native (Post 1049010)
That was exactly my point. Who are the troublemakers the SVP doesn't like? Will this proposal do anything to keep them out? (No.) Might it have a very adverse effect on the Swiss economy? (Clearly.) I understand that this is mostly propaganda for the upcoming elections, but I really wonder why they didn't come up with something where they wouldn't have the corporate unions against them...

Well, the point of SVP is not mainly about crime but the increase of population which the government apparently cannot cope with, Swiss population doubled up in the past 10-15 years, with limited amount of land, limited resources it became definitely a nightmare nowadays to accommodate more immigrants, as most of the residents in CH who have been here long enough know, the prices have increased immensely in the past 10 years while infrastructure isn't really offering the same quality of service as before.

One other main issue is the security, taking an example Geneva with 1400 police members who did the same study and have the same qualifications, though only 300 are on patrol and the rest are admins in office as they refuse to have irregular hours and where originally hired for office work, today it's really hard to convince a CH citizen to join the police forces as the work / hours are pretty harsh, recently a campaign of hiring ran over 1 year span on daily basis with no positive results.

SVP is just dealing with problem from the prospect of not investing more to accommodate the current population but rather limit / reduce the immigration level.

Mowvich 19.12.2010 13:51

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marton (Post 1049012)
Probably more likely than Swiss German becoming an official language.

As an aside I assume this idea would prevent Swiss Germans coming in because it is not an official language :)

They would also have to staff every Swiss embassy with qualified speakers of each official language to carry out these tests. You could not carry out tests with non-qualified testers? That would lead to a lot of appeals & claims of unfairness.

All sounds a bit impractical.

Totally valid point but the average CH citizen located in a rural area doesn't get always the same sort of thinking as you do now, as SVP make sure they deliver facts / false facts that only serve their campaigns and targets, i would see this initiative getting great success tbh.

Faltrad 19.12.2010 13:51

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by marton (Post 1049012)
They would also have to staff every Swiss embassy with qualified speakers of each official language to carry out these tests. You could not carry out tests with non-qualified testers? That would lead to a lot of appeals & claims of unfairness.

All sounds a bit impractical.

These tests exist for German in Goethe Institutes and for French in the network of centres culturels. That covers the basic needs, Switzerland itself would have little to do for it.

This idea of language tests for immigrants including so called explats untertains me to a seldom achieved level by other topics :msngrin:

tkn 19.12.2010 13:55

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by st2lemans (Post 1048908)
When I first moved to Switzerland, I moved to Zurich, but didn't speak German.

When I finally was starting to get comfortable with German (after four years), I moved to Lugano, but didn't speak Italian.

I've been in Ticino 20 years, and only in the past few years has my Italian gotten to the point that I'm semi-fluent.

BUT, before coming to Switzerland, I did speak, read, and write fluent French, so, while I've never lived in the French speaking part, I have always been totally fluent in one of the Swiss languages!

However, if they want to make it a requirement to be fluent in the language of the region where you live, most Swiss would have a problem if they are not in their home canton.

Tom

Perhaps use English as the "common" language. That is how it works in a country with over 20 official languages.

native 19.12.2010 14:03

Re: Compulsory language test for intending immigrants is on the cards, says Blocher
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mowvich (Post 1049017)
Swiss population doubled up in the past 10-15 years

In the past 20 years it grew by 15%.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mowvich (Post 1049017)
the prices have increased immensely in the past 10 years

y-o-y change in consumer prices: 0.2%


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