Today in Switzerland For Members

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Undocumented immigrants queued at a free food distribution point in Geneva during the pandemic. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Moves toward shorter residency requirement for Swiss naturalisation; eased rules for Geneva's undocumented migrants; and other news in our roundup on Wednesday.


Initiative launched to facilitate the naturalisation process

Foreigners who have lived and worked in Switzerland for at least five years — rather than 10 years as is required currently — should be able to apply for a Swiss passport.

This is what the “Popular initiative for a modern nationality right (initiative for democracy),” which was launched in Bern on Tuesday, is asking for.

The move is spearheaded by an organisation called  Aktion Vierviertel in German and Action Quatre Quarts in French.

“Political participation is one of the cornerstones of democracy. Whoever must obey the laws must [also] have a say,” the association said, pointing out that this right is denied to a quarter of the population, or two million foreigners, who nevertheless contribute to Switzerland’s economic, cultural and social life.

The organisation has until November 23rd, 2024, to collect the 100,000 signatures that are needed to launch a referendum. 

READ ALSO: The fight to make it easier for foreigners to get Swiss citizenship

New, laxer rules for Geneva’s undocumented foreigners 

Immigrants who live in Geneva without a permit will no longer be penalised (for instance, by deportation) for staying in the canton illegally — as long as they have not committed any crimes and filed a request to have their status legalised. 

The application to this effect should be submitted only via an organisation called Papyrus, which helps  legalise well integrated undocumented migrants who have been living in Geneva for many years.

About 13,000 undocumented people are believed to live under the radar in Geneva, though the number is likely higher. 

These people became much more visible during the Covid pandemic, when thousands came out of hiding to benefit from free food distribution


Households spend less on consumer goods and services

In the first three months of the year, 42.1 percent of gross household income was spent on food, clothing, and housing, according to data published on Tuesday by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). 

In a context of inflation, the share spent on food went up from 6.1 percent during the same period in 2022, to 6.3 percent.

On the other hand, health expenditure fell from 3.5 percent to 1.5 percent, and spending related to housing and energy stagnated at 13.5 percent percent.

The proportion of the budget spent on transport dropped from, 6.6 to 5.4 percent

The good news that emerged from the study is that, despite inflation, Swiss households managed to save more money over the last three months —  25.4 percent of income, against 19.6 percent a year earlier.


Work disrupts the Lausanne-Marseille summer rail link

The direct daily connection on TGV Lyria is to be effective for a limited time only, from July 1st to July 23rd

However, the train scheduled to travel this route will not be direct on July 14th, 15th, 16th and 22nd due to railroad works planned on the line.

If you have planned to travel between Lausanne and Marseilles specifically on these four dates — you still can, though you will have to change trains in Paris and expect longer travel time.

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