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

Proposal to cut social aid for foreigners from outside the EU, the most in-demand jobs, and other Swiss news in today's brief roundup

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
IT workers are highly demanded in Switzerland. Photo: Pixabay

Federal Council debates cutting social aid for non-Europeans

As part of a draft revision of the law on foreigners and integration, the Federal Council is proposing to reduce social assistance paid to nationals of third countries.

“During the first three years following the granting a residence permit, the rate of social assistance should be lower than that applied to the native population”, authorities said.

The proposal sparked criticism from the Swiss Workers’ Welfare Organisation, whose spokesperson, Caroline Morel, pointed out that “in social assistance, the amount of support benefits is calculated according to needs and not the length of stay in Switzerland”.

“It is clear that these tightening measures will primarily affect vulnerable people such as children, people with special needs, and women”, she added.

READ MORE: How Switzerland wants to cut welfare and boost integration for non-EU citizens

Could Switzerland and the UK merge into one country?

As Swiss President Ignazio Cassis is visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week, the latter emphasised that the relations between the two countries “are of enormous importance. I don’t think people understand how much trade we do together, let alone the other relationships we have.”

Johnson even went as far as to suggest (only half-seriously,  we assume)  that the two nations  — neither of which is part of the European Union — should merge and create a country called Britzerland.

Cassis has not responded to the idea but did concede the two nations “have many things in common and we want to further deepen these links and develop new agreements”.

These industries have most job openings

Switzerland’s employment market had rebounded well from the Covid slump, with many sectors looking for qualified workers.

Foremost among them right now are IT and catering sectors, where job vacancies increased in April by 1.5 percent over the previous month, according to new research by Michael Page recruitment agency.

This is a national figure, however. In the French-speaking regions alone, the number of jobs offered in these two sectors increased by 4.6 percent.

Within these industries, logistics and finance specialists are particularly in demand.

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Wanted: cats to wear bells and ridiculous collars

No this is not a joke.

Some Swiss researchers are clearly not very busy: one team has just wrapped up a very serious study which outfitted 31 cats with little bells and colourful collars worn around their necks to see whether these accoutrements make the bird and rodent population safer from feline attacks.

The research and advisory community SWILD, which carried out the study in collaboration with the Swiss Ornithological Institute, found that cats who wore a bell on their collar captured significantly fewer birds and small mammals. With a collar, they brought back 37 percent fewer birds than without a collar. And if they wore a collar and a bell, they brought back about 60 percent less prey altogether.

This cat didn’t drag in anything. Photo: Birdsbesafe on Twitter

The two organisations are pleased about the results, though nobody knows how the cats felt about the experiment. All we know is that a cat in a collar catches no mice.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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For members


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

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]