Government moves to cut shortage of computer specialists
The Swiss cabinet is granting an additional 11,000 work permits this year for highly qualified foreigners in an attempt to reduce the shortage of skilled labour in the information technology and other sectors.
The government on Wednesday decided to grant an additional 5,000 one-year work permits, as well as 6,000 permits allowing regular employment of up to 18 months in Switzerland.
The justice ministry said the current quota of 35,000 permits (17,000 yearly permits and 18,000 others) had been almost been used up.
The new permits will apply to well-qualified professionals, in particular information technology experts, scientists, managers and business experts.
It is the first such quota increase for 10 years. The cabinet decision comes in response to growing calls by the IT and business sectors for more foreign specialists to make up for a shortage of Swiss staff.
Other sectors, including agriculture and the construction industry, have also demanded more work permits for foreign labour.
Work regulations for citizens from the European Union are gradually being eased in Switzerland under an agreement with Brussels on the free movement of people from the EU. The accord is part of a series of bilateral treaties between Switzerland and the EU.
The accords were approved by Swiss voters in May 2000, but the ratification process has been delayed in several EU member states. The Swiss government hopes the accord can take effect early next year.
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