Swiss court backs residency request of welfare recipient

The migration office had claimed that the man's welfare payments spoke against the level of his family's integration. Keystone

The Federal Administrative Court has overturned the decision of the State Secretariat for Migration to refuse residence permits to the children of a foreigner who received social assistance while studying in Switzerland.

This content was published on July 12, 2018 - 17:07

In a verdict published on Thursday, the court judged that the welfare payments received by the man of Ukrainian and Syrian origin was insufficient grounds to deny residency permits to his children.

Having arrived in Switzerland almost 15 years ago, the man subsequently received state benefits for four years while he studied to become an engineer. He then found work and supported his family without assistance.

+ Read more about naturalisation and citizenship in Switzerland

However, the State Secretariat for Migration reckoned that this receipt of benefits was a sign of mediocre integration and opposed the wishes of the family’s home canton by refusing to grant residence permits to the man’s children.

In its verdict overturning this decision, the St Gallen-based Federal Administrative Court recognised that the social benefits had allowed the man to find a job and become financially independent. It also said the amount in question – CHF200,000 ($200,000) – was not substantial.

The man said he was prepared to pay back the money, although he is not obliged to do so.

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