Out-of-work foreigners boost Swiss jobless rate

The Swiss jobless rate increased in December to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent the previous month as the percentage of foreigners out of work took another big jump, according to a government report issued on Friday.

Out-of-work foreigners boost Swiss jobless rate
Photo: Canton of Vaud

The number of people registered for unemployment at regional job offices rose to 147,369, an increase of 10,817 from November, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) report said.

The share of foreigners on the jobless rolls jumped to 6.8 from 6.1 percent, while the rate for Swiss citizens edged up to 2.3 from 2.2 percent.

Non-Swiss accounted for 48 percent of registered unemployed in Switzerland last month.

The overall rate remained lower than the 3.5 percent recorded in December 2013.

Although there were variations through the year, the average jobless level for 2014 of 3.2 percent was virtually the same as in 2013, Seco said.

Government forecasters are predicting that after rising in the past six months unemployment is expected to drop again in 2015.

Last month, the official unemployment rate rose in all cantons except Graubünden, where it dipped to 1.9 from two percent.

In Zurich, Switzerland’s largest job market, the rate increased to 3.5 from 3.3 percent in November.

The lowest rate was recorded in the canton of Obwalden (1.1 percent, up from 0.9 percent), while the highest was in the canton of Valais (5.8 percent, up 1.6 percent).

For more information check Seco’s report here (available in French, German and Italian). 

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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