Today in Switzerland For Members

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 19 Mar, 2022 Updated Sat 19 Mar 2022 09:49 CEST
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Refugees from Ukraine will be out up in temporary accomodation while waiting for better housing options. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Switzerland puts up ad-hoc housing for Ukrainian refugees

About 8,500 Ukrainians have arrived in Switzerland so far, with up to 50,000 expected by June.

State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) currently has about 9,000 places to accommodate refugees in six federal asylum facilities, which are expected to filled to full capacity soon.

The Defence Department is stepping in to provide 1,800 additional places in the barracks in Bülach (ZH) and Bure (JU) on a temporary basis. About 300 more places will be added in a few days in the Glaubenberg (OW) military camp, while SEM is urgently looking for other housing options.

Refugees who do not already live with relatives or acquaintances must be placed as evenly as possible among the cantons, SEM said.  “In this respect, each canton must decide whether it can support  refugees itself or whether it should collaborate with a relief organisation”.

READ MORE: Switzerland expects 50,000 Ukrainian refugees by June

The origin of food produced abroad will have more explicit labelling

The Council of States has approved a motion calling for a clear and detailed designation of the country of origin for foods made outside Switzerland.

Swiss consumers will now be able to find out more easily where the products they buy are manufactured.

While many of the foods sold in Switzerland are produced or prepared elsewhere, and packaging indicates their EU origin,  it is not uncommon for the ingredients to come from even farther afield, for instance China. Such indications, however, are typically missing.

“The fact that products are made or pre-made outside Switzerland with foreign raw materials, without clear designation of the country of origin, is deceptive to consumers,” said MP Jacques Nicolet in his motion.

New job opportunities for ski instructors

Swiss regional airline, Helvetic Airways, came up with a novel idea to remedy the shortage of cabin crews: it is offering ski instructors (and there is no shortage of those in Switzerland) training in the summer and then jobs as flight attendants.

With its aptly named  programme, "Ski & Fly",  Helvetic is recruiting ski instructors who need summer jobs to fill the gap between skiing seasons.

Once the snow melts, they will fly from Helvetic’s Zurich hub to destinations throughout Europe until the end of October, at which point they will hit the slopes again.

Online petition urges Swiss to oust Putin’s girlfriend from the country

Though it has never been officially confirmed (or denied), it has been widely reported that Vladimir Putin’s “secret family” — girlfriend Alina Kabaeva and their children — are living under heightened security somewhere in Switzerland, possibly in Ticino.

Over 45,000 people have now signed an online petition on website asking the government to expel Kabaeva and the children from the country.

“Dear Swiss Confederation, why do you grant residence to the accomplices of Putin's regime? " the petition asks.

It also calls on Switzerland to verify the origin of the money used for the purchase of the properties that are currently used by Putin’s family.

READ MORE: Reader question: Do Russians now have to leave Switzerland?


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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/03/19 09:49

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