One year after simplified naturalisation was offered to the grand children of immigrants to Switzerland, few have taken up the offer, according to the broadcaster RTS.
This right was granted after a successful referendum on the subject on 12 February 2017. 60.4% of voters were in favour of the plan, which came into effect in February 2018.
The plan, originally proposed by the government, makes the naturalisation process easier for third generation residents. They can make a direct federal application costing CHF 500 for adults and CHF 250 for children, rather than the normal process via their local municipality and canton.
French-speaking Swiss voted heavily in favour of the plan, with 70.9% of those in Jura, Neuchâtel, Vaud, Geneva and Valais voting in favour. Across the rest of Switzerland an average of 57.6% were in favour of the plan. The cantons of Uri (46.5% yes), Schwyz (45.8%), Obwalden (46.4%), Glaris (49.6%), Appenzell-Innerrhoden (43.6%), and St. Gallen (49.8%) were all against it.
However, after one year, only around 1,065 of the roughly 25,000 eligible have applied and only 309 applications fully processed.
Italians, Kosovars, Turks and Spanish make up 80% of those who have applyed.
Two thirds of those applying came from the cantons of St. Gallen, Aargau, Solothurn, Thurgau, Basel and Bern, which have tighter naturalisation processes. The simplified process allows applicants to make a direct federal application, sidestepping cantonal procedures.
Some applicants face a challenge meeting the requirement to prove that one of their grandparents spent five years at school in Switzerland. Some have grandparents that arrived as seasonal workers or came as adolescents with few remaining school years.
RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
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