Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Foreigners who graduated from Swiss universities should be allowed to remain in the country, MPs said. Photo: Pixabay

MPs vote to allow third-country nationals to remain in Switzerland after university; National Council deputies support at-source taxation; and other news in our Friday roundup.


Swiss university graduates from third countries to be allowed to work in Switzerland

Foreigners trained at Swiss universities should be able to stay and work in Switzerland, even if they come from a third country.

That is what the National Council’s MPs decided on Thursday.

“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,” according to deputy Andri Silberschmidt.

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,” especially as there is a shortage of skilled professionals.
Also, someone who studied in Switzerland, no matter the nationality, “is often well integrated and has a well-paid job,” Silberschmidt said.

READ MORE: Could Switzerland increase work permit quotas for third country nationals?


National Council accepts proposal to change tax system

Currently, Swiss citizens and permanent residents pay income taxes by monthly instalments, the amounts of which are based on previous years’ income. Final payments are due once the tax return is assessed by the authorities.

However, on Thursday MPs voted in favour of a taxation system already applied to certain foreign nationals: tax at source.

This means taxes are deducted by the employer directly from the employee's salary and passed on to the state.  

Deputies approved the idea of taxing everyone in Switzerland at source, since having small amounts automatically deducted from wages is more manageable for most people than being faced with a lump-sum payment.

According to MP Emmanuel Amoos, who launched the motion, this system would prevent tax debt, which impacts nearly 10 percent of Switzerland’s population.

Zurich will test the 35-hour work week

Full-time employees in Switzerland usually work 40-hours a week.

But Zurich will be launching a pilot project, where municipal employees will work five hours less for the same salary. 

The city hasn’t yet announced when the test will begin, but Zurich’s Finance Minister, Daniel Leupi, who opposed the project, warned that the municipal government stands to lose up to 110 million francs if the reduction in working time were to be introduced throughout the administration.

In addition, up to 1,500 new employees would have to be hired to fill the gaps.


Switzerland’s population in favour of neutrality, but NATO too

Swiss neutrality has been a hot-button topic in recent weeks as politicians are debating the controversial issue of arms exports to Ukraine.

While many now say Switzerland’s stance is outdated, a new survey, carried out by the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, shows that 90 percent of respondents want to preserve Switzerland’s neutrality.

The war in Ukraine also reinforces the desire of Switzerland’s population to get closer to NATO. Though it may seem like somewhat of a paradox, this is not incompatible with neutrality, respondents said.
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