Travaux de Science Politique de l'IEPI, n° 16.
This paper analyzes the impact of internationalization (European integration, multilateral decrease of tariffs and opening of markets) on Swiss immigration policy in a comparative political economy perspective. The main argument is that internationalization as a process of redistribution of resources has considerably modified the preferences and the potential influence of the mobile actors of the economy (mainly multinational corporations) to the detriment of the representatives of the domestic sectors (agriculture, construction, hotel trade) who had been so far the main winners of this policy. Indeed, they notably took advantage of the precarious work permits (seasonal) granted to foreigners who were generally low-skilled. Prompted by these empowered economic actors, Swiss immigration policy was gradually transformed since the 1990s into a policy whose main goal is to promote the competitiveness of the Swiss economy in a more globalized international environment. This was notably done by limiting the entry of low-skilled non-European workers on the one hand, and by promoting the entry of high-skilled workers employed in the competitive sectors of the economy on the other.