The Swiss Federal Migration Commission wants to make it easier for third-generation immigrants to obtain Swiss citizenship by removing several bureaucratic procedures and requirements.

Though in a referendum held on February 12, 2017, the voters had supported changes to the constitution in order to make it easier for people born in Switzerland, whose grandparents had immigrated to the country to obtain citizenship, a recent study of the Federal Commission on Migration shows that there is still a low rate of applicants who meet this condition that are gaining citizenship.

In a press release issued last week, the Federal Commission has revealed that out of the approximately 25,000 applications for citizenship submitted by this category since February 15, 2018, only 1,847 had been granted Swiss citizenship until the end of 2020.

The Commission believes that there are too many unnecessary requirements hindering the process for these people.

The will of the people and the estates must be implemented. These people have long been part of Switzerland – Switzerland needs them!” the President of the EKM, Walter Leimgruber, says.

Amongst the main requirements that the Commission wants to abolish is the age limit. The current rules on applying for Swiss citizenship as a third-generation immigrant state that the application must be submitted before the 25th birthday.

Since many people only want to naturalize a little later, after completing their training or when starting a family, this age limit is not justified. The legal age limit does not correspond to the reality of the life of those affected. It should therefore be abolished,” the Commission claims.

It also states the requirement of proof of belonging to the third generation of foreigners is too complicated, as amongst others it includes:

  • proof that the grandparents were entitled to reside in Switzerland
  • proof that the father or mother attended compulsory school for at least five years,
  • evidence one parent lived in Switzerland for ten years and has a permanent residence permit

And finally, the Commission wants to make it easier for people wishing to become Swiss citizens as third-generation immigrants to access information and advice on the procedures.

Due to the complicated regulations, it is often a challenge for local authorities to provide competent advice to those wishing to naturalize. In order to facilitate the naturalization of third-generation people, local authorities need to be empowered to give them appropriate advice,” the Commission states.

Data by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office show that 0.2 per cent of the Swiss population are foreign nationals from the third or a higher generation. Another about five per cent are second-generation immigrants, of whom 3.6 are naturalized and another 2.4 of foreign citizenship.

The Swiss are one of the world populations that are most satisfied with the quality of life in their home country. According to the 2020 Income and Living Conditions Survey (SILC) of the Swiss Statistical Office, 40.4 per cent of the population aged 16 and over noted that they were very satisfied with their current life. Whereas in 2014, 39 per cent of the population aged 16 and over believed the same.

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