20 September 2016

Residence permits only for well-integrated foreigners

During their autumn session, the majority of the National Council was in favour of a tightening of the Immigration and Integration Law:

  • a permanent residence permit (C-permit) should only be issued to those who are de-monstrably well-integrated;
  • in addition, there should be to no legal right to a C-permit;
  • the immigration status of a person should, in future, be revocable at any time if they show no willingness to integrate.

No residence permit without integration
In future a residence permit will only be issued to those who are demonstrably integrated in Swiss society. The following will be considered as criteria for good integration (i) language skills, (ii) respect for the values of the Federal Constitution, (iii) respect for public order and safety, as well as (iv) participation in the economy or education.

No legal entitlement to a residence permit
The majority of the National Council found that in each case the authorities must be given a certain amount of discretion in the issuance of a C-permit. In debate, they did not find the argument put forward by the Federal Council, that the prospect of secure residency was the best incentive to integrate, to be valid.

Easier revocation of residence permit
The National Council also decided that a tightening was also necessary regarding the revocation of residence permits. Currently, they may be revoked for violation of public order and safety or for long-term drawing of social assistance benefits. In future, revocation will also be possible when a person has held a C-permit for more than fifteen years. The National Council also requested that the authorities will be able to revoke C-permits or downgrade them to B-permits, if a person is not willing to integrate in Switzerland.

Author: Moritz Jäggy

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