Towns in the canton of Zurich have been overwhelmed with citizenship applications over the last few weeks. Some like Uster have seen applications increase 5-fold. What’s behind this sharp spike?
According to the Tages-Anzeiger, the recent initiative due for vote on 28 February 2016, that could see over 10,000 foreign criminals deported from Switzerland is behind the sharp rise.
In particular, secondos – those born in Switzerland but without Swiss nationality, are afraid they might be expelled for breaking minor laws.
- A 5 step guide to Switzerland’s immigration changes (Le News)
- A 7 step guide to getting a Swiss passport (Le News)
According to the town of Uster, the fear felt by secondos started on 9 February 2014 when the vote against mass immigration succeeded with a slim majority of 50.3%. The city of Zurich said that most applications were from those from the Balkans, Italy and Germany. The commune of Zurich has seen a 40% rise in the number of naturalization requests since 2015.
After reaching a peak of 47,600 naturalizations in 2006, Switzerland saw a fall in applications reaching a nadir of 35,200 in 2014 before rising back up to 42,700. Across Switzerland the largest groups applying are Italians, Germans and Portuguese.