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Migration office wants to open job market

Around 60 per cent of temporary asylum-seekers do not work

(Keystone Archive)

The justice ministry says asylum-seekers who have been admitted to Switzerland on a temporary basis should be provided with better job opportunities.

The aim of the proposal, which has been put to the government, is to help temporary residents integrate into Swiss society.

Eduard Gnesa, head of the Federal Migration Office, says 90 per cent of temporary asylum-seekers stay in Switzerland. "[This] is why we must integrate them as well as possible," he said in an interview with the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper.

New legislation currently going through parliament could improve temporary asylum-seekers’ chances of finding a job – although this law will not come into force until 2007 at the earliest.

The justice ministry is looking into whether, until the law comes into force, temporary asylum-seekers could be treated in the same way as foreigners with a one-year residency permit or a permit that entitles them to settle in Switzerland.

Gnesa says the government should in any event be able to decide on the issue in the autumn.

Muslims

According to Gnesa, the government is in contact with employers' associations in a bid to clarify what needs to be done to integrate temporary asylum-seekers into the employment market.

He says it is not easy finding jobs for the 60 per cent of the 23,000 or so temporary residents who are not already working.

Gnesa adds that one of the difficulties regarding temporary asylum-seekers is that it is not clear when some of them have to leave the country.

"That’s not particularly attractive for employers," he says, adding that the government assumes that most of them are going to stay for a while.

In addition to improved integration, easier access to the job market should also lead to reduced costs.

In a separate development, the government is also due to decide on the integration of Muslims.

Gnesa says the justice ministry has suggested to cantons that they should make imams pass a language and integration course.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Temporary admittance is granted to those applicants who have not been given asylum but for whom being sent away would be unreasonable.
If this temporary admittance is lifted, the person concerned receives a departure date from the canton by which time they must have left Switzerland.
A residency permit invalidates temporary admittance.

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