Swiss unemployment continues to fall

The jobless rate in Switzerland fell for the fourth straight month in May, dipping to three percent from 3.1 percent in the previous month.

Swiss unemployment continues to fall
Map shows unemployment in Switzerland is highest in French- and Italian-speaking regions. Image: Seco

The number of people registered for unemployment benefits dropped to 131,290, down by 4,561 from the end of April, the state secretariat for economic affairs (Seco) said in a report released on Monday.

The number of people actively seeking work dropped to 185,012, 5,355 fewer than a year earlier.

But the unemployment rate last month remained higher than the 2.7 percent figure registered in May 2012, Seco noted.

The rate dropped or remained the same in all of the cantons, with the highest rate recorded in Geneva (5.5 percent, unchanged from the previous month) and the lowest in Obwald (0.9 percent, unchanged).

The biggest reduction was recorded in Valais, where the rate tumbled to 3.7 percent from 4.1 percent, followed by Graubünden (1.9 percent, down from 2.2 percent).

The jobless rate in Zurich fell in May to 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent in April, while dropping in Bern to 2.2 percent (down from 2.3 percent), to 3.6 percent in Basel-City (down from 3.8 percent) and to 4.9 percent in Vaud (down from five percent). 

For Seco's complete report (in French, German and Italian) click here.

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Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Switzerland has made reciprocal agreements regarding working holiday visas with several countries. Here's what you need to know.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

Over the past few decades, countries around the globe have rolled out ‘working holiday visa’ agreements.

These visa schemes, largely targeted at young people, allow people to work and live in a particular country, usually for a set period of time and pursuant to certain conditions.

In recent years, Switzerland has expanded its own form of a ‘working holiday visa’, although there are some important differences to be aware of.

Unlike some of the better known schemes like those in place in Australia, applicants are discouraged from moving around and are generally required to stay with the one employer for the duration.

The goal of the visa scheme is to allow applicants to “expand their occupational and linguistic skills in Switzerland”.

The visa scheme runs for 18 months and cannot be extended.

Which countries does Switzerland have working holiday visa agreements with?

The agreements are made between countries, meaning your fate will depend on whether your government has at some point struck a deal with Switzerland.

EXPLAINED: What’s the difference between permanent residence and Swiss citizenship?

If you are from the European Union or an EFTA country (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), then you will be able to live and work in Switzerland as is – and will not need to go through this process.

If you come from outside the EU, you will only be able to apply for this visa if you are a citizen of the following countries:

Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United States.

What does ‘reciprocal’ mean in this context? 

Where these agreements have been struck, they have entitled citizens of both countries to certain rights and permissions in the other country. 

However, while these arrangements might be reciprocal, they are not identical. 

For instance, while citizens of Australia can enter Switzerland and work, the rules for Swiss citizens in Australia are significantly different. 

Therefore, if considering each program, be sure to study all of the relevant details as these will change from country to country and from agreement to agreement. 

More information is available at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How to get a working holiday visa in Switzerland