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Foreign workers

EU pact no cause to smile for Swiss dentists

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The large influx of dentists from abroad has increased competition and jeopardised the profitability of many Swiss dental practices. (SRF/swissinfo.ch/cp)

In Swiss cities, one in two dental practices is struggling to keep its business afloat, according to a study by the Swiss Dental Association (SSO). The survey was conducted in 2015 among 1385 SSO dentists. One reason is the increase in competition due to the arrival of dentists from abroad who are setting up their own practices.

Due to a bilateral agreement with the European Union – in place since 2002 – Switzerland must recognize dentistry diplomas awarded in EU countries. And since that time, more than 4,600 dentists have take advantage of this in order to work in Switzerland. Last year alone, there were 459. On top of this, 130 new dentists graduated from Swiss universities.

The competition is particularly fierce in the bigger Swiss towns like Basel, Zurich or Lausanne. 

Swiss dentists see it as unfair competition since a degree in dentistry from an EU or EFTA country requires as little as 5,000 hours of training, a little more than half of the hours required in Switzerland.