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‘Swiss first’ list of jobs extended to unskilled workers

Restrictions on other occupations like watchmaking workers will cease from 2020. Keystone/ennio Leanza

From 2020 most unskilled jobs will have to be advertised first at regional unemployment centres whose databases are accessible only to Swiss residents.  

This content was published on December 10, 2019 - 14:34

Since July 2018, certain occupations that have a national unemployment rate of at least 8% have been subject to the measure to ensure Swiss residents have a first shot at applying for vacant jobs. From 2020, this will only apply to occupations with a national unemployment rate of at least 5%. 

As a result, currently restricted occupations like qualified kitchen staff, catering specialists, marketing professionals and watchmaking workers will no longer be affected by the obligation to register with unemployment offices from 2020. On the other hand, vacancies for all unskilled occupations, with the exception of household help and cleaning staff, will be subject to the ‘Swiss first’ policy.  

Mass immigration initiative   

The move was introduced after the adoption of the controversial “Against mass immigration initiative” by Swiss voters in 2014, which sought to limit the number of workers from the EU coming to Switzerland.   

The final outcome was the result of walking the extremely fine line between honouring the wishes of the voters, while simultaneously preserving bilateral relations with the European Union, which could be threatened if Switzerland were to enact immigration quotas. 

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