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At home? Integration becomes key factor for residency permits

Non-Swiss will have more to prove if they want to stay long term

(Keystone)

Switzerland wants to put more importance on the responsibility of foreigners to integrate into society, by linking residency permits to more integration measures.

Parliament decided on Monday to revise the ‘foreigners law’, firstly by renaming it the ‘foreigners and integration law’. The changes mean that long-term residency C-permitsexternal link will be only be given to people who respect public security and order, uphold the values of the federal constitution, contribute to the economy or take part in training and have the required level of language sufficiency.

Those who currently have the long-term C-permit are liable to have it taken away from them if they violate public law and order or become reliant on social benefits in the long-term. In the future, this could additionally happen to C-permit holders who have had a residency right for more than 15 years. The permit could either be revoked entirely, or downgraded to the medium-term B-permit. After five years the person could apply for a new C-permit.

Family reunificationexternal link will be made more difficult for those with a temporary right to remain. At the moment these people are allowed to bring a spouse and children into the country at the earliest after three years. The conditions are that there is a large enough place for the family to live and that they would not be dependent on social welfare. These conditions will remain, but in addition people will not be allowed to have their family join them if they draw additional social benefits.

Politicians also hope the law will encourage the integration of refugees, people with temporary right to remain and asylum seekers. Instead of potential employers having to ask for permission in advance from the authorities, they will be able to merely notify them.

A final vote on the proposal will take place in parliament on Friday.

swissinfo.ch and agencies, JF

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