Faced with rising unemployment, the Swiss government is considering whether to limit the number of EU workers entering Switzerland’s job-market.
The government is divided on whether to implement the measure prompted by new unemployment figures showing the number of jobless reaching a three-year high. The EU’s Director General for External Relations, Eneko Landaburu questioned whether this was the right moment to take this sort of action. “We will not get out of this economic crisis by limiting freedom of movement for workers, services and goods,” he said. There are currently no restrictions on the numbers of EU workers who can take up jobs in Switzerland, however bilateral agreements allow the government to limit numbers if unemployment rises too high. Citizens from Germany and Portugal currently make up the largest EU immigrant groups in Switzerland, with many skilled Germans working in the country’s health sector.