IPL Algorithm for Refugee Integration

Since 2018, the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration is testing a new, data-driven method for assigning asylum seekers to cantons across the country. The desired goal is to increase the employment rate of refugees. Asylum seekers in the pilot program are assessed by an algorithm designed to maximize their chances of finding a job. The algorithm allows officials to send individuals to the canton that best fits their profile, rather than allocate them randomly, as under the current system. The placement algorithm was developed by the Immigration Policy Lab (IPL), which has branches at Stanford University and ETH Zurich, and an affiliated researcher from Dartmouth College. IPL researchers aimed to give countries around the world a tool to improve refugee integration that could easily be implemented, at low cost and without overhauling their existing systems. The historical data used to develop the algorithm for Switzerland included information on where refugees were sent, whether they found work, and their age, country of origin, gender, and time of arrival. The algorithm uses this complex history to calculate refugees’ probability of employment at each possible resettlement location, and then allocates them in a way that gives each person the best possible match.


Allocation of asylum seekers to cantons


Immigration Policy Lab; CH/USA