Last week, the Federal Council looked again at residence permits and adopted new rules, which were accepted by parliament in 2016, according to the newspaper Le Matin.
The new rules, which will be introduced at the beginning of 2019, will help foreigners integrate and remove permits from those who don’t.
To aid integration, the special income tax levied on refugees and asylum seekers will disappear – the tax was designed to recoup the costs of supporting and processing asylum seekers.
In addition, procedures for accessing the job market will be simplified for refugees and asylum seekers and permit extensions will be available for those making progress on integration.
At the same time, those failing to integrate will put their permits at risk. The authorities will only be able to extend residence permits if certain integration requirements are met.
These requirements include: respect for the constitution and its values, respect for public order, participation in the workforce or education, and competency in the local language.
Failure to comply could mean, for example, someone on a C-permit gets demoted to a B-permit.
Refugees and asylum seekers on welfare could be required to participate in integration or work programmes. Those who don’t could have their welfare reduced.
The federal government will provide cantons with CHF 6,000 per person to help fund integration, a sum which might rise to CHF 18,000.