Unemployment is low in Switzerland, and firms frequently rely on labour from outside the country. Lured by high wages, some foreigners work illegally and assume big risks.
About one in three workers in the Swiss labour market is not Swiss, with most of the foreigners being skilled Europeans who benefit from bilateral accords between Switzerland and the European Union.
Employment and Unemployment
There is an expression that says the Switzerland is a country that hits far above its weight, meaning its economy is stronger than the country’s size might suggest.
It had a GDP of CHF676 billion in 2013 although it ranks 97th among the world’s most populous nations with about 8 million people. For more key facts, please visit this pageExternal link of the Federal Statistics Office.
For more on employment and income, please visit this pageExternal link of the Federal Statistics Office.
Even during the height of the recession in 2009 Switzerland enjoyed a low level of unemployment in comparison with surrounding countries and the United States. For up- to-date unemployment figures, please visit this pageExternal link of the Federal Statistics Office.
It is illegal to work in Switzerland without a permit and doing so is punishable by law. Legally you cannot begin work, even at a job for which you have been granted a permit, before you have registered with local authorities. Do not start a job before you have completed these steps. (See section on Work Life, Work Permits, Promised a permit - Now what? for more information).
Working illegally subjects you to a fine or worse. Your employer can also be punished. There are no legal grounds for an employer to pay you for work that has been done illegally.
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