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Hire at home not abroad, says labour head

Swiss firms should make greater efforts to employ Swiss residents instead of recruiting abroad, says the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco).

Serge Gaillard, head of Seco's labour division, told Swiss television that despite rising unemployment, the number of foreigners granted work permits was still increasing.

Companies in the industrial sector had laid off a lot of their workforce, Gaillard said, while other branches less affected by the economic crisis were still looking abroad to hire staff.

At the end of October, 158,000 people were registered as unemployed – about four per cent of the working population. Seco estimates the figure will rise to five per cent next year.

Immigration and unemployment are two issues to be debated during parliament's winter session, which begins on Monday.

The right-wing Swiss People's Party is expected to push for a revision of the bilateral accord with the European Union on the free movement of people.

Party figurehead Christoph Blocher has said that if it is unsuccessful in parliament, it will begin a campaign to collect enough signatures in order to force a nationwide vote on the issue. and agencies


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