On 15 June 2022, a proposal put forward by Stefania Prezioso Batou, a federal parliamentarian from Geneva, to grant automatic citizenship to those born in Switzerland was rejected by 112 to 75 votes in Switzerland’s federal parliament, reported 20 Minutes.
Batou would like to see the introduction of jus soli where a child born in Switzerland to foreign parents and schooled in Switzerland would automatically qualify for Swiss citizenship at the age of 18.
Those against the idea argued that being born and raised in Switzerland did not guarantee integration. In addition, automating the process at a federal level would run counter to cantonal independence on the naturalisation process.
A similar proposal was rejected in December 2021 by the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house.
Unrestricted jus soli, or birthright citizenship, is rare beyond North and South America, where it remains the norm. Beyond these regions, only Chad, Lesotho, Tanzania, Tuvalu and Pakistan have it, while another 30 odd nations have restricted forms of it.
Gaining Swiss citizenship is slow and difficult. It requires a minimum of 10 years residence in Switzerland on the right kind of permit and a long list of other requirements. Applications for Swiss nationality must be approved by the federal administration, cantons and the municipality where the applicant resides. In the end, many who call Switzerland home never get around to becoming Swiss, sometimes after several generations.