Expected to come into force on 1 January 2017 across the country, confusion now surrounds the date the new rules will take effect, reports the Geneva weekly newspaper GHI. Bernard Gut, director of Geneva’s population and migration office (OCPM), told RTS in early March the new rules would be applied from 1 January 2017.
Now there is confusion.
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GHI interviewed someone, who does not hold a C-permit (required under the new regulations), and who arrived in Switzerland on 15 January 2005. If the new rules are applied from 1 January 2017 he will miss the cut off for applying – under the old rules 12 years of residency is required. He was told however, by the OCPM in March, not to worry because the new rules would not be applied until sometime next spring. The director of the OCPM and at least some staff at the OCPM appear to be saying different things.
Many foreigners appear to fear missing out. In Geneva, 467 applied for Swiss nationality in January and February 2016, a sharp rise from the 242 requests made over the same period in 2015.
The official start date for the new nationality rules is still up in the air. “While we wait for clarity from the federal authorities, all we can say is that it will happen during 2017” said Geneva OCPM spokesperson Nathalie Riem.
“The date the new rules will come into effect has not yet been specified. The federal council must agree and decide on the date the law changes” said Céline Kohlprath, spokesperson for the federal state secretariat for migration (SEM).
Adding further to the confusion, the canton of Vaud website says it expects the new rules to take effect in February 2017.
Click here for more information on the old and new rules.