Switzerland to clarify rights of ‘provisionally admitted foreigners’

The range of Swiss permits, with the F, for provisionally admitted foreigners, at the end. Keystone / Gaetan Bally

People in Switzerland holding an F permit are facing restricted travel options but better access to the Swiss job market, the government said on Wednesday.

This content was published on August 26, 2020 - 12:32

The F permit provides temporary or provisional residency status for people who have not been granted asylum, but who also cannot be repatriated, usually for health or security reasons.

The new rules would prohibit F permit holders – “provisionally admitted foreigners” – from visiting their country of origin, unless it’s to prepare a permanent move back. Travelling without authorisation would lead to a loss of the permit and status.

The rules also prohibit travel to other countries, though case-by-case exceptions would be possible for the death of a family member, a school trip, or a training or professional visit.

The pending changes to the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals also state that F permit holders would be able to move from one canton to another for a job or educational purposes if they or their family are not receiving social aid.

The F permit has been debated and criticised by some as leading to a situation “in limbo”, while others have said it is granted too easily to people who should be sent home sooner.

The government also wrote on Wednesday that the term “provisionally admitted foreigners” – which has been criticised as misleading as such people often spend many years in Switzerland – is not going to be changed.

Parliament will have to ratify the modifications before they come into force.

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