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Switzerland allows non-EU university graduates to stay and work

Switzerland allows non-EU university graduates to stay and work
Non-EU nationals can will soon be able to stay to work in Switzerland after graduation. Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

Third country nationals trained at Swiss universities will be able to stay and work in Switzerland, even if they come from a third country, the country's upper house of parliament has ruled.

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Third-country nationals who graduate from Swiss universities with a degree in a field suffering from a shortage of qualified professionals will be allowed to remain in Switzerland.

Under the current rules, they must return to their home countries after finishing their studies.

The Council of States, Switzerland's upper house of the Federal Assembly, accepted this change on Monday — following the National Council’s approval of the proposal in March — even though some MPs oppose this move on the grounds that it would create a category of third-country nationals not subject to quotas

In March Swiss MPs had voted in favour of the move by 135 votes to 51 which will allow those foreign students from outside the EU / European Economic Area to stay on Switzerland and work after they graduate.

“Currently, the employment of third-country nationals is subject to the strict quotas, even if they studied in Switzerland. But this regulation no longer makes sense,” deputy Andri Silberschmidt said at the time.

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The reason, he said, is because Switzerland “pays to train these foreigners and there is no return on investment if they have to leave the country.

The lawmaker also pointed out the relaxation of the reform made sense given there is a shortage of skilled professionals in Switzerland.
 
Also, someone who studied in Switzerland, no matter the nationality, “is often well integrated and has a well-paid job,” Silberschmidt argued.

Initially the Swiss government only wanted the reform to cover holders of a master's degree or a doctorate obtained in a field suffering from a shortage of workers.

But in the end deputies decided to add graduates holding any tertiary education degree.

"The entire tertiary level has competent specialists that we need," said MP Marco Romano.

The right wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) had voted against the move arguing it was against the Swiss constitution to extend immigration in such a way.

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