Immigration vote Business and state bodies prepare for preferential hiring

Parliament voted last December for a compromise to immigration quotas.

(Keystone)

Swiss firms will soon be obliged to show preferential treatment to Swiss residents when hiring. The cabinet has urged autonomous federal bodies to do likewise.

The wheels are in motion. After the deadline passed last Friday to challenge parliament’s compromise on immigration restrictions, the fundamental premise of the plan – according preferential status to Swiss residents on the labour market – will soon become reality.

The cabinet has sent a letter to autonomous federal bodies that will be bound to respect the preferential principle. The letter asked these bodies to document the steps they are taking to favour resident applicants, in order to guarantee transparency.

Such bodies are those which are not part of the central federal administration, but which are still controlled (by virtue of capital or voting rights) by the state. Although the cabinet did not specify, this would likely include bodies such as Swiss Post and Swiss Federal Railways.

‘Exhaustive use’ of resident workforce

According to a cabinet press release, the modified law on immigration means that Swiss businesses will be obliged to introduce measures that make “exhaustive” use of the existing workforce before considering foreign workers. The date when the measures will enter into law will be fixed soon by the cabinet.

According to the Swiss News Agency, ATS, employers will have to announce in advance vacant positions to employment services and accept for interview or aptitude test the candidates they propose. Neglecting to do so could lead to a fine of up to CHF40,000 ($39,630), though businesses will not be forced to justify eventual rejections.

The measures form part of the compromise initiative voted by parliament last December following the 2014 approval of an anti-mass immigration initiative. The “national preference” option attracted criticism from supporters of harder immigration quotas, but it has also allowed for the provisional maintenance of agreements framing relations with the European Union.

swissinfo.ch and agencies/dos

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