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Seasonal workers from ex-Yugoslavia granted annual permits

A group of 179 seasonal workers from the former Yugoslavia have won their right to remain in this country beyond the end of May, bringing to an end a three-year legal battle.

A group of 179 seasonal workers from the former Yugoslavia have won their right to remain in this country beyond the end of May, after being granted annual work permits by the canton of Vaud. The exceptional move brings to an end a three-year legal battle, and puts the men in a position to bring their families to Switzerland.

The workers have been in the country for between eight and ten years. Until now however, they have been refused the right to convert their seasonal work permits ("A-permits" ) for annual ones ("B-permits") due to a change in legislation in 1995. For the last three years they had been allowed to stay in Switzerland thanks to a series of temporary permits, the last of which was due to expire next month.

Seasonal workers in canton Vaud are mainly employed in the agricultural sector and in hotels and restaurants. The cantonal authorities say they plan to normalise progressively the legal status of such workers by granting 60 annual permits a year.

swissinfo and agencies

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