Jobless rate of foreigners declines in February

Swiss unemployment dropped in February for the first time in seven months led by a reduction in the percentage of expats out of work, government figures released on Friday show.

Jobless rate of foreigners declines in February
Photo: Canton of Vaud

Overall, the jobless rate last month remained unchanged from January at 3.5 percent but 149, 259 people were registered as unemployed, 4,001 fewer than in the previous month, the state secretariat for economic affairs (Seco) said in its monthly report.

The unemployment rate of foreigners dipped to 6.9 percent from 7.1 percent, the report said.

The rate for Swiss nationals remained unchanged at 2.4 percent.

For non-Swiss, the jobless level remained higher than a year earlier when the rate was 6.7 percent, while the overall rate was slightly higher than the 3.4 percent recorded in February 2013, the figures show.

The number of registered job seekers also fell in February, dipping by more than 2,800 to 209,934, Seco said.

None of the country's 26 cantons recorded a higher unemployment rate in February, with levels unchanged from the previous month in eight cantons, including Zurich (3.5 percent).

Neuchâtel registered the highest rate (5.7 down from 5.8 percent), while Obwalden and Nidwalden boasted the lowest rate at 1.1 percent.

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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