Study launched into why second-generation expats refuse Swiss citizenship

Study launched into why second-generation expats refuse Swiss citizenship

The Swiss Council of States has approved an investigation into why people born in Switzerland largely refuse to apply for citizenship. A new study from Geneva found that only 2 percent of second-generation internationals in the city choose to go through the naturalisation process.

Swiss government to probe citizenship applications

According to 20 minuten, the Swiss government has been ordered to launch an investigation into why people born in Switzerland to non-Swiss parents refuse to apply for naturalisation. Unlike other countries, being born in the alpine nation does not guarantee a Swiss passport, although those born in cities and cantons in Switzerland to expat parents can usually apply for citizenship through simplified naturalisation.

The announcement follows a report from authorities in Geneva which found that only 2 percent of those eligible for citizenship actually apply, a figure extremely low compared to other European countries. A report from the Federal Migration Commission in April also found that of the 25.000 third-generation migrants who are officially eligible for simplified naturalisation, only 1.800 had actually applied for a Swiss passport.

Mazzone: Non-Swiss residents feel excluded

In arguing for the investigation, State Councillor Lisa Mazzone told 20 minuten that “young people [are] concerned, many were born here and have never lived in another country; nevertheless, on a purely formal level, they are not Swiss. Scientific studies show that such exclusion leads in the long term to a division of society and to a democratic deficit.”

The investigation was finally approved by the Federal Council, which said that while it was important to investigate why second-generation migrants forgo citizenship, it may be challenging to identify a “single reason” for the phenomenon. Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter told 20 minuten that “it will not be easy” as they will have to analyse separate pieces of data and unique laws from 26 different cantons to come up with an answer.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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