The canton of Vaud needs to make naturalisation tougher in response to changes to federal law. The government of Vaud is trying to retain some room to manoeuvre but wiggle room is set to be limited.
Last week, Philippe Leuba, Vaud’s head of the economy and sport, told the press that the draft bill dealing with naturalisation brings together the tightened restrictions adopted at a federal level in 2014, with those in Vaud’s constitution which aim to facilitate the process.
Philippe Leuba, says room to manoeuvre will be narrow. For example the canton of Vaud will not require an applicant to restart their application if they move. And, going forward, when there is an appeal the courts will be able amend a decision, not only overturn one. In addition, the bill harmonises the process at the commune level.
In 2016, there were 7,300 naturalisations, up from 4,100 in 2015, a jump driven by the impending changes. Vaud has fixed a date of 1 January 2018 to introduce the new rules.
Next year those wanting to become Swiss will need to hold a C permit, prove they have mastered French, and not have received social assistance during the three years prior to applying. In addition, they must have a clean criminal or judicial record and be integrated. The communes will be given the task of deciding whether someone is integrated and will test individuals’ general knowledge with questions drawn from a common database of 500 questions.
With the new rules in place Philippe Leuba thinks naturalisation requests will stabilise at around 4,000 a year, with more failed applications expected.