The Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA)

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

On January 1, 2019, the Federal Act on Foreigners and Integration (FNIA) came into force by succeeding the Foreign Nationals Act (FNA). On this basis, important changes have been made that included the following:

1. Revocation and downgrading of the permanent residence permit (Permit C)

The revocation of the C permit is now possible in case of a long-term dependence and to a large extent on social assistance. The C permit can be revoked and replaced by a B permit when the integration criteria are not met, including the respect for security and public order, the values of the Constitution, language skills and the participation in working life or efforts to acquire an education.

Nevertheless, how do we define a long-term dependence and to a large extent on social assistance? Is a 6-month dependency considered long-term? Should the total amount be analyzed?

To answer these questions, a thorough analysis of each individual case is necessary.

2. Impossibility of family reunification in case of receiving supplementary benefits

Family reunification is no longer possible if the holder of the original or reunification right (holder of permit L, B, C or F) receives annual supplementary benefits in the sense of the Supplementary Benefits Act (SBA) or would be entitled to claim such benefits due to family reunification.

In the canton of Vaud, this modification raises two specific questions: what about supplementary benefits for families and the bridge pension “rente-pont”? It would seem that the former does not prevent an application for family reunification. However, the “rente-pont”, which has a completely different purpose, would make family reunification impossible.

3. Disclosure of personal data

It is important to emphasize that administrative assistance and disclosure of personal data already existed under the FNA.

However, the FNIA authorizes the Federal Council to disclose data in case of :

  • A claim for unemployment benefits,

  • A claim for social assistance,

  • A claim for supplementary benefits in accordance with the SBA,

  • Disciplinary measures by school authorities,

  • Measures taken by child and adult protection authorities,

  • Other decisions indicating special need for integration in accordance with the criteria set out in Article 58a.

If an authority receives data pursuan