Migrant group slams citizenship changes

by Malcolm Curtis|TheLocal, Switzerland|August 23, 2012

Proposed changes to the law on Swiss nationality could lead to a ten percent drop in the number of residents who become “naturalized” citizens, a new study shows.

Among the modifications to be debated next month in parliament is a requirement that only holders of C residency permits would be eligible to seek citizenship.

Holders of such permits are foreigners from the European Union or European Free Trade Agreement countries who have been granted a “settlement permit” after living in Switzerland for five or ten years.

C permits are also available to foreigners from other countries who have been granted settlement permits after ten years of uninterrupted residence in Switzerland.

The proposed revision will allow for eligible foreign residents to apply for citizenship after living eight years in the country, reduced from the current 12 years.

But this will be more than offset by the C permit requirement, according to a study from the University of Geneva.

The study was presented in Bern this week by the federal commission for migration issues (FCM).

It concluded that the number of new naturalized citizens would drop by 3,500 a year if the new proposals are accepted.

Switzerland’s citizenship requirements are among the toughest in the world.

Almost a quarter of the country’s residents are foreigners.

But even for children of these foreigners who are Swiss-born, citizenship is far from automatic, requiring approval at federal, cantonal and municipal levels.

The FCM recommends that citizenship be handled by a single body and that children born in the country should be automatically eligible to carry a Swiss passport.

“Obtaining (Swiss) citizenship allowed me to integrate in the country,” Fiametta Jahreiss, vice-chairwoman of the federal commission, told a press conference, according to the ATS news agency.

To read the full article, check TheLocal.ch

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About Malcolm Curtis

Freelance English-language communications professional (writing, editing, translations) based near Geneva, Switzerland. Let me know if I can help you.
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