Switzerland Rejects Citizenship Bids Of Residents Who Were Once On Welfare

Switzerland doesn't mess around.

The idyllic nation — where the average annual GDP per capita is nearly $80,000 — doesn't like deadbeats. The nation recently enacted a new civil rights act that prevents residents who received welfare benefits from becoming citizens until they pay back the money they took.

The new regulations took effect January 1. Asylum seekers and refugees who received handouts in the previous three years can't become permanent residents without paying back the government.

What's more, refugees must prove they are making efforts to integrate into society in order to win citizenship. They must show that have "cultivated contacts" with a number of Swiss people, according to Kronen Zeitung. There are also new language requirements, which vary depending on the canton they are living in, the Daily Mail reports.

Although not part of the European Union the Swiss Government has pledged to play its part in resettling families fleeing Syria.

In 2016, they announced they would take 3,000 asylum seekers from the war-torn country.

It was reported at the time that the country also aimed to settle up to 50,000 asylum seekers who had managed to make their way across the border and into Switzerland, mostly by crossing from with Italy following a perilous journey.

Switzerland's tough stance is different from that taken by Germany in the past few years when the nation allowed more than 1 million refugees in. But after stiff pushback from German citizens, the country's leaders are rethinking the move.

Late last year, Germany began offering rejected asylum-seekers who voluntarily move back to their home countries a one-time payment of $3,570. The Interior Ministry said those who qualify can apply by a February 28 deadline and would get the money when they get home, the Associated Press reported.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday that more than 8,600 refugees have already taken up Germany's offered cash to go home over the last few months, but there are some 115,000 rejected asylum-seekers in Germany.

"Half of the grant is payed upon leaving Germany, and the other half is paid six to eight months after they have arrived in their home country," the paper said.

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