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Thurgau steps up language requirements for foreigners seeking Swiss citizenship

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Thurgau steps up language requirements for foreigners seeking Swiss citizenship
Photo: fermate/Depositphotos
09:33 CET+01:00
Under a new rule passed by the Thurgau cantonal government on Wednesday foreigners seeking Swiss citizenship in the canton will be required to speak German to B2 level, higher than the new federal requirement of B1 that comes into force in January 2018.
A classification under the Common European framework of reference for languages (CEFR), B2 means the ability to express oneself on a range of topics, a step up from B1, requiring the ability to talk in a limited way in familiar situations. 
 
 
The new rule in Thurgau was proposed by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and accepted by 65 votes to 53 on second reading, reported news agency ATS.
 
Obtaining Swiss citizenship can be a lengthy and convoluted process. An applicant must meet the requirements of the federal government, which demands the applicant have lived here for 12 years, be familiar with Swiss law and way of life, pose no threat to security and be well integrated. 
 
 
From January 1st 2018 a new federal law comes into force that will set out more detailed federal citizenship conditions, including the requirement that all applicants speak the local language to at least B1 level.
 
The new federal law will also reduce residency requirements from 12 years to 10.
 
However citizenship is ultimately decided by the canton and commune where the person lives, which have their own, varying, requirements. Cantons often interpret the definition of integration differently, which has led to some high-profile refusals in recent years.
 
 
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