Expats hardest hit again as jobless rate rises

Despite economic growth, the unemployment rate continued to rise in Switzerland last month, jumping to 3.5 percent from 3.2 percent in November, with foreigners responsible for most of the increase, government figures showed on Friday.

Expats hardest hit again as jobless rate rises
Areas in red highlight cantons with the highest unemployment. Image: Seco

The share of expats out of work leapt to 6.9 percent in December, up from 6.2 percent the previous month and 6.5 percent a year earlier, a report from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) said.

Foreigners accounted for almost half (48.3 percent) of those officially unemployed, the figures showed.

The figures followed a well-established pattern: when the number of people without work in Switzerland expands, expats are hardest hit.

The level of jobless Swiss increased to 2.4 percent from 2.3 percent in November and a year earlier.

At the end of December. a total of 149,437 people were registered for unemployment benefits, 10,364 more than the previous month.

The number of job seekers increased to 205,802, up 9,280 from November.

Switzerland’s average unemployment rate for 2013 rose to 3.2 percent from 2,9 percent in 2012, Seco said.

The jobless rate for December worsened in every canton in the country except Graubünden, where the level dropped to two percent from 2.1 percent.

The biggest increases were recorded in Valais, where the rate swelled to 5.6 percent from 4.2 percent.

Neuchâtel (5.8 percent, up from 5.3 percent) posted the highest unemployment rate in Switzerland, ahead of Valais and Geneva (5.6 percent, up from 5.5 percent).

Obwalden (1.2 percent, up from 1.1 percent) and Nidwalden (1.2 percent, up from one percent) boasted the lowest rates in the country.

The jobless rate in Zurich hit 3.5 percent, up from 3.2 percent, while in Basel City the figure reached 3.9 percent, up from 3.7 percent.

The full report is available (in French, German and Italian) 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