Thousands of Italian cross-border workers set to lose their jobs in Switzerland

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Thousands of Italian cross-border workers set to lose their jobs in Switzerland
Thousands of cross-border commuters from Italy will lose their jobs in Ticino by the end of the year. Photo by AFP

According to a trade union in the Swiss canton of Ticino, at least 4,000 cross-border commuters will lose their employment this year, as the coronavirus shut down some industries.


Ticino’s Ocst union (Organizzazione Cristiano Sociale ticinese) has said that 3,000 cross-border workers have already lost their jobs in 2020. The number should reach 4,000 by the end of December.

The figures are based on the forms filled out by out-of-job workers to apply for unemployment benefits in a EU state — in this case, Italy.

The most affected industry is the catering sector, due to the prolonged closure of bars and restaurants in the canton during the first wave in the spring.

The metals and machinery industry have been impacted by the pandemic as well.

However, healthcare and construction sectors, which also employ a high number of workers from Italy, have been relatively unaffected.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Swiss canton Ticino tightens coronavirus restrictions


Over 7,700 construction workers and 4,000 healthcare providers live over the border in Italy. About 120 doctors and 500 nurses employed in the canton's health sector are daily commuters from the nearby Italian regions. 

In all, about 70,000 Italians work in Ticino. 

No numbers are currently available for the unemployment rate among frontier workers from France, Germany, and Austria.

But regardless of where they live, cross-border workers get their unemployment benefits in their country of residence if they are unemployed on full-time basis, and in Switzerland if the unemployment is partial.

What you should do if you are a G-permit holder and lose your job in Switzerland.

Contributions for unemployment benefits are automatically deducted from your salary.

If you lose your Swiss job because your employer discontinued your contract, you would have to claim benefits from the unemployment office in your country of residence. In such a case, request a PD U1 form from the Swiss unemployment office, as well an international employment certificate from your former Swiss employer. 

In case of ‘partial unemployment’, that is, if your work hours are reduced, or if the company you work for temporarily or definitely ceases its activities, then you are entitled to Swiss benefits. 




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