Einbürgerung im Wandel
Kontroverse Entwicklungen in der Stadt Zürich
In the 1990s, considerable changes have taken place concerning the naturalization of foreigners in the city of Zurich. With the steady increase in the number of applications the administration had to deal with and with a shortage of both staff and financial means, administrative procedures were tightened, more clearly structured and professionalized. As a result of the continuous systematization of these procedures, the criteria applied to applications have changed profoundly. Principally, the conditions applicants have to meet have been quantified and made more objective.
The conservative parties oppose this process of liberalizing naturalization. At the same time, left parties in the city parliament have made several attempts to revise the outmoded legal requirements for access to citizenship. When the city parliament treats applications, discussions have an increasing tendency to turn into basic debates on access to citizenship: both left-wing and right-wing parties take the opportunity to express their general views on immigration and the integration of foreigners. In the political arena, issues concerning naturalization, immigration and integration are inter-mingled. Arguments about applications as well as about naturalization law and regulations take place in a hostile political climate and the work of the administration and the naturalization committee of the city parliament is becoming increasingly difficult. Although all political parties agree that the situation is unbearable, the possibilities for securing a majority around proposed solutions are becoming increasingly remote.