Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Illegal working rises to new high in Switzerland

Illegal working in Switzerland is expected to rise to a new high this year, accounting for almost nine percent of gross domestic product. A new study says illegal workers will earn around 35 billion francs, up from 32 billion in 1999.

The new figures, quoted in the SonntagsZeitung, are part of a Europe-wide study, conducted by a professor at Austria’s University of Linz, Friedrich Schneider.

His research found that earnings from illegal work in Switzerland had trebled since 1975, from Sfr12 billion to Sfr35 billion today. He estimates that 300,000 people are currently working illegally in Switzerland.

The effect, according to the SonntagsZeitung, will be to deprive the state of more than SFr5 billion in taxation revenue.

The paper reports that the government is planning to put forward a number of proposals to deal with the problem, during its summer session. These are expected to include tough new laws to deal with offenders and more power and personnel for the regulatory bodies.

Industry bosses are also calling for the government to commitment itself to keeping the working week at a minimum of 40 hours, and there’s pressure for cuts in administrative costs related to employment.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR