Cross-border workers in Switzerland face growing unemployment

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Cross-border workers in Switzerland face growing unemployment
Many of those commuting from France to Switzerland have lost their jobs. Photo by AFP

About 13 percent of workers from France lost their jobs in Switzerland between March and September, figures show.


The economic crisis generated by the Covid-19 pandemic caused many cross-border commuters in the Geneva area to lose their jobs, particularly in the hotel, restaurant, and construction sectors.

 “The main victims of the health and economic crisis are, not surprisingly, temporary and seasonal workers”, reported Le Messager, a newspaper in the Haute-Savoie region from where most frontier workers employed in the Lake Geneva area come. 

“About 18 percent of cross-border workers registered as unemployed in France come from the hotel and restaurant sector and 13 percent from the construction industry”, the newspaper said.

A similar situation exists among cross-border workers who are employed in Ticino, where 3,000 employees from Italy have already lost their jobs in 2020.

The number should reach 4,000 by the end of December, a Ticino trade union said.


As in Geneva, most of those who lost their jobs in Ticino also used to work for hotels and restaurants — industries that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.

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

In all, more than 120,000 people from France work is the area around Lake Geneva, which encompasses the cantons of Geneva and Vaud.

And about 70,000 Italians work in Ticino.

But regardless of where they live, cross-border workers who hold G permits, 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.

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. 

READ MORE: Switzerland's economy and job market face gloomy outlook, new figures show


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