Tribune de Genève.
After more than 15 years, Geneva State councillor Pierre Maudet unveiled a plan code named operation Papyrus. The operation was negotiated with Switzerland’s federal government to regularise some of Geneva’s illegal immigrants, mainly domestic workers.
Under the operation, 590 residence permits have already been granted. Pierre Maudet said “Papyrus is a roadmap for a project which is in the public’s best interest. Potentially, the plan in place with the Federal State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), could apply to 13,000 people in Geneva, mainly women from Latin America.
The 590 B permits issued in Geneva were issued in 2015, however the operation was only revealed to the public on Tuesday.
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At a press conference Cornelia Lüthy, a representative of SEM said that “it is not a mass regularisation, nor an amnesty. Cases will be looked at individually.”
According to RTS, to qualify, families with children at school will need to prove 5 years of residence. All others need 10 years. In addition, evidence of total financial independence, integration (sufficient French) and a clean legal record are required. Those who apply and fail risk expulsion, said Pierre Maudet.
The project has three elements. The first is regularisation of those without permits. The second is to sort out sectors where illegal workers push down wages, such as domestic work. The third is integration of those currently living off the radar.
At the end of the process, regularised workers are required to provide the name of their employer.
“The people we are discussing today have no permits, but live normal lives, are financially autonomous and often have children at school. However they are like ghosts that do not exist legally. We need to end this hypocrisy…” said Pierre Maudet.
The project required years of negotiation at a federal level. Geneva is the first Swiss canton to implement such a plan. Across Switzerland there are an estimated 76,000 illegal immigrants.