Third-generation migrants choosing to forgo Swiss citizenship, report finds

Third-generation migrants choosing to forgo Swiss citizenship, report finds

A new report by the Federal Migration Commission (FCM) has found that among those eligible for simplified naturalisation, only a fraction have applied for Swiss citizenship. Since 2018, only 1.800 of the anticipated 25.000 people eligible for the scheme have applied and received a Swiss passport.

Few migrants apply for Swiss citizenship under the current system

Since February 2018, third-generation migrants - people whose grandparents were the first to move and settle in Switzerland - have been able to apply for Swiss citizenship through so-called “simplified naturalisation,” if they are 25 years old or younger. In theory, this process eliminates some of the largest hurdles in naturalisation and integration, making citizenship applications easier.

However, new data from the FCM has found that many who are eligible for the scheme are yet to apply. So far, only 1.800 out of an estimated 25.000 migrants have used the new system.

According to Walter Leimgruber, President of the FCM, many expats and internationals eligible to apply are also EU nationals, meaning there are almost no restrictions on the duration of visas and residence permits in Switzerland, making citizenship unnecessary. He noted that simplified naturalisation remains a complicated process, with “bureaucratic hurdles” that are still too high.

Application for Swiss citizenship described as unfriendly and complex

According to 20 minuten, those that have applied described the process as “unfriendly” and “complex.” To apply, people have to prove their grandparents lived in Switzerland for a certain duration, meaning applicants must source documents that are often 50 or 60 years old in order to proceed.

In response, the FCM has announced that it wants to simplify simplified naturalisation by abolishing the age limit for applicants. They said that the current bureaucratic hurdles need to be lowered in order for more people to take advantage of the system.

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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