Language key to new foreigner integration law

The government and cantonal authorities want to introduce new measures to promote the integration of foreigners living in the country.

This content was published on November 23, 2011 - 15:58 and agencies

If parliament approves, the changes to the law would give a greater priority to knowledge of, or learning one of Switzerland’s national languages.

In the case of foreigners living in the country applying for residency permits for family members who live outside the European Union, the relatives would also have to prove they can speak German, French or Italian, or enrol in a language course to learn one.

The proposals also set out criteria by which integration is defined. Permits would be granted in future only when the criteria are met.

Employers will also be expected to contribute by aiding the integration process of their non-Swiss staff and their families.

The package presented on Wednesday includes measures to help children of foreigners begin school on an equal footing with Swiss children.

Each canton will be expected to establish its own integration programme.

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