Full name of indicator: probability of obtaining a settlement permit
A settlement permit offers persons of foreign nationality a considerable degree of mobility on the labour market. It thus increases their equality of opportunity compared with the native population and provides them with considerable security regarding their stay. An assured long-term right of stay is generally a prerequisite for successful integration (and also the result of successful integration).
In Switzerland, the share of persons holding a residence permit (B permit) that obtained a settlement permit (C permit) in 2018 was 24%. The rate was lower if the person holding a B permit was born in Switzerland (17%) and higher if the person was born abroad (25%). This lower probability of obtaining a C permit among the population born in Switzerland may be explained by the fact that if they are born in Switzerland, foreign nationals have a higher rate of naturalisation and that in the case of an application submitted before 1st January 2018, the possession of a C permit was not a necessary condition for obtaining Swiss nationality.
Among those who had held a B permit for 4 years, the rate of obtaining a settlement permit decreased by 8.7 percentage points between 2012 and 2018. The decrease was greater among persons born abroad than those born in Switzerland (-9.2 percentage points compared with -1.8 percentage points). The latter group, however, continued to show the lowest rates of the two population groups (17%).
Generally, the probability of obtaining a settlement permit primarily depends on the person’s nationality (other factors such as an assessment of their degree of integration, whether they are married to a Swiss national, etc. are also explanatory).
Regardless of whether they were born in Switzerland or abroad, citizens from the EU28 and EFTA countries had the greatest likelihood of obtaining a settlement permit. If born in Switzerland, the rate was 28%: the likelihood was even greater if they were born in a foreign country (32%). Persons from other European countries and the rest of the world have a rate that is 1.7 to 2.5 times lower (rates between 8% and 18%). This low likelihood of obtaining a settlement permit among the population originating from other countries worldwide is due to the stricter conditions for obtaining a C permit. As a general rule, the waiting time is longer (at least ten years of residence in Switzerland).
Compared with the Swiss average of 24%, the C permit acquisition rate for the canton of Neuchâtel was ten percentage points higher. By contrast, the cantons of Glarus, Nidwalden, Graubünden, Uri and Obwalden had rates that were ten percentage points lower.
The data broken down by place of birth indicate differences in the likelihood of obtaining a C permit. In the majority of cantons, as for the Swiss average, it was persons born abroad who had higher rates compared with those born in Switzerland. In the canton of Neuchâtel, the difference by place of birth was the greatest: persons born abroad who held a B permit had a 37% chance of obtaining a settlement permit while the rate was 22% for those born in Switzerland. In the canton of Fribourg, Aarau, Basel-Landschaft, Lucerne and Schaffhausen, the difference was also more than 10 percentage points. By contrast, in the cantons of Nidwalden, Glarus and Graubünden, holders of a B permit who were born in Switzerland had the greatest likelihood of obtaining a settlement permit.
In line with the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration, the settlement permit may in principle be granted at the earliest following a legal stay of at least 5 years (see article 34 on the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals for further details). For the development of this indicator, however, it is those who have held a permit B for at least 4 years on 31.12 in the year prior to the year of observation that are selected because the duration of stay may reach 5 years during the year of observation.
The calculation is done in the following way: the share of those newly obtaining a C permit from year X who have held a B permit for at least 4 years on 31.12 of the previous year among the number of persons who have held a B permit for at least 4 years on 31.12 of the previous year.