Switzerland’s government has agreed not to temporarily limit immigration for EU job seekers despite rising unemployment in the country.
Ministers remain divided on whether to implement a quota. President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Economy Minister Doris Leuthard are in favour of restrictions, while the Foreign Minister, Micheline Calmy-Rey is against. New unemployment figures show the number of jobless has reached a three year high but the EU’s Director General for External Relations is opposed to the limit, so too are the country’s employers: Thomas Daum of the Swiss Employers’ Association said: “The newly arriving migrants are not the problem of our labour market, the labour market is hit by poorly qualified foreigners who are already in Switzerland. If we introduce contingents (quotas) now, our labour market will be less attractive.” Citizens from Germany and Portugal currently make up the largest immigrant groups in Switzerland, with many skilled Germans working in the country’s health sector. With unemployment at 3.5 per cent, Switzerland is in much better shape than many EU countries. The European Commission forecasts the 27 member states will see unemployment rising to 10.9 per cent this year.