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Swiss unemployment falls for fifth month

Switzerland's jobless rate fell in June for the fifth month in a row, dropping to 2.9 percent from three percent in May, although the level of unemployment remained higher than for the same period a year earlier.

Swiss unemployment falls for fifth month

At the end of June, a total of 126,498 people were registered for unemployment benefits, 4,792 fewer than in the previous month, according to a report released on Monday by the state secretariat for the economy (Seco).

By comparison, the total registered for benefits was 10.1 percent higher than in June 2012.

The number of registered job seekers nationwide dipped in June from the previous month by 5,206 to 179,806.

In cantons across the country the unemployment rate either declined or remained the same, with the lowest rate recorded in Obwalden (0.8 percent, down from 0.9 percent in May) and the highest rate in Geneva (5.4 percent, down from 5.5 percent).

The rate dropped to three percent in Zurich (from 3.1 percent), to 2.1 percent in Bern (from 2.2 percent), to 3.5 percent in Basel-City (from 3.6 percent) and to 4.7 percent in Vaud (from 4.9 percent).

Graubünden recorded the biggest reduction in unemployment in percentage terms, falling to 1.5 percent in June from 1.9 percent the previous month, followed by Valais (3.3 percent, down from 3.7 percent).

Overall unemployment among Swiss citizens dipped to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent, while the rate for foreigners, which is typically much higher, also declined to 5.5 percent from 5.8 percent, Seco said.

The level for foreigners from outside Europe was also lower at 7.8 percent, down from eight percent.

The continued recovery in job figures comes as the Swiss economy continues to outpace that of its European neighbours.

The Swiss National Bank said last month it expected weakness to show in the second quarter of this year but that it still expected GDP to grow for 2013 by one to 1.5 percent despite “high risks” to the Swiss economy.

The risks come largely from the international environment, the central bank said. 

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WORKING IN SWITZERLAND

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

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