Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July 2014, 13:56 GMT

Switzerland: Whether the holder of a Swiss "B" permit will automatically lose rights and privileges if he or she leaves the relevant Swiss jurisdiction (canton)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 7 April 2009
Citation / Document Symbol CHE103124.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Switzerland: Whether the holder of a Swiss "B" permit will automatically lose rights and privileges if he or she leaves the relevant Swiss jurisdiction (canton), 7 April 2009, CHE103124.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e43bc232.html [accessed 24 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Swiss Federal Office for Migration (FOM) indicates that all foreigners who stay in Switzerland for more than three months require a permit (Switzerland 2008, 6). According to Micheloud & Cie, a Swiss company that provides information for people seeking to live or work in Switzerland (n.d.a), a "B permit (permis de séjour … ) is an annual residence permit [that] gives [holders] the right to live in Switzerland for 180 days a year or more" (Micheloud & Cie n.d.b). The FOM indicates that the "Permit B: residence permit" is issued in the form of a foreigner's booklet entitled Ausländerausweiss / Livret pour étrangers / Libretto per stranieri (Switzerland 7 Mar. 2008).

A B permit is issued by the local canton migration office and remains valid only in the canton that issued it (SwissInfo 8 Nov. 2008; Binational July 2008; Switzerland 2004, 14). Holders of a B permit must inform canton authorities if they decide to move from the canton that issued the permit (ibid.; Binational July 2008; Geneva n.d.a). Geneva's cantonal office for labour inspection and labour relations (Office cantonal de l'inspection et des relations du travail, OCIRT) indicates that the holders of a B permit must "obtain permission to change job, profession or canton and to change from employment to self-employment" (Geneva n.d.b).

In a 30 March 2009 telephone interview, an official from the Schaffhausen canton stated that B permit holders may travel from one canton to another and may leave the country for up to six months without affecting their permit. She also stated that permit holders will automatically lose their B permit if they are absent from the country for more than six months (Schaffhausen 30 Mar. 2009). However, in a 30 March 2009 telephone interview, an official from the Zug canton indicated that loss of a B permit would not be automatic. He noted that people can obtain a B permit for different reasons (e.g., through marriage or by way of an employment contract) (Zug 30 Mar. 2009). The Zug Official emphasized that immigration officials would make a decision based on many factors, including the type of B permit possessed, the reason for a person's departure, the length of time they were absent, and whether they continued to be employed and to pay taxes during their absence (ibid.). He noted that a B permit must be renewed every year and if a holder was no longer living in the country or no longer paying taxes or no longer employed, he or she would not be able to renew the permit (ibid.). The Zug Official also indicated that if an absence of more than three months could not be explained, a permit holder would "likely" lose the B permit (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Binational. July 2008. "Residence." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2009]

Geneva. N.d.a. Office cantonal de la population (OCP). "Vous avez la nationalité d'un pays de l'Union européenne ou de l'Association européenne de libre échange*…" [Accessed 30 Mar. 2009]

________. N.d.b. Office cantonal de l'inspection et des relations du travail (OCIRT). "Conditions for Obtaining a Work Permit in Geneva." [Accessed 30 Mar. 2009]

Micheloud & Cie. N.d.a. "One-stop Service for Swiss Residency." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2009]

________. N.d.b. "What is a B Permit?" [Accessed 27 Mar. 2009]

Schaffhausen canton. 30 March 2009. Telephone interview with an official.

SwissInfo. 8 November 2008. Tim Neville. "To Respect Foreigners Is to Respect Ourselves." <&lt;http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swissinfo.html?siteSect=43&sid=9946802&ty=st> [Accessed 30 Mar. 2009]

Switzerland. 7 March 2008. Federal Office for Migration (FOM). "Permit B: Residence Permit." [Accessed 27 Mar. 2009]

________. 2008. Federal Office for Migration (FOM). Foreign Nationals and Asylum Seekers in Switzerland. [Accessed 27 Mar. 2009]

________. 2004. Federal Office for Migration (FOM). Finding Your Way in Switzerland as a Refugee. [Accessed 30 Mar. 2009]

Zug canton. 30 March 2009. Telephone interview with an official.

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the canton migration offices of Aargau and Bern were unsuccessful. The Federal Office for Migration in Bern was unable to provide further information. A representative of Micheloud & Cie was unable to respond to a request for information.

Internet sources, including: AngloInfo, BMC Public Health, Freedom House, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Just Landed, Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Solidarité sans frontières, Swiss Refugee Council, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), United Nations (UN) Refworld.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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