What is the change? The Swiss government has published a list of occupations where unemployment is high, triggering rules that require employers to advertise for and consider local candidates before placing a foreign worker in those roles.

What does the change mean? Employers seeking to hire into the listed professions must advertise exclusively with the local unemployment authorities for at least five days. Within three days of posting the advertisement, the public unemployment service will give the employer the names of job seekers registered with the service who may be likely candidates for the position.

  • Implementation time frame: The list is in effect from July 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Who is affected: Companies seeking to hire in designated job roles. See the list below.  
  • Business impact: Businesses should prepare for slightly longer timelines and difficulty in recruiting foreign workers for certain occupations. The list will be updated annually.
  • Next steps: Companies should consult the list and plan to fulfill advertising requirements and procedures for any of the listed jobs.

Background: Under the “national priority light” rules, employers are subject to labor market testing rules before hiring foreign workers in industries with a designated threshold level of unemployment. The threshold is 8 percent from 2018 onwards and 5 percent from 2020 onwards. The government will publish an updated list of affected occupations annually.

The first list was published May 23 and includes the following jobs:

  • Public relations and marketing specialists
  • Agricultural assistants
  • Certain professions in the watch industry
  • Warehouse keepers, storage workers
  • Industrial manufacturing workers
  • Concrete and cement workers, plasterers, insulation workers, and other professions within the construction industry
  • Courier staff
  • Telephone operators, telephonists, receptionists and porters
  • Domestic operations managers, service staff, household and laundry services employees, kitchen staff
  • Actors
  • Workers with unidentifiable manual employment, such as production workers, stone and glass processing workers.

Several exceptions to the advertising requirements apply, such as where the job is to be filled by a relative of a signatory of the company, the position is an apprenticeship or mandatory internship, the employee has been working for the company for at least six months, the job duration is less than 15 days, or the employer has already found a candidate through the public unemployment office.

BAL Analysis: While the list will not affect most high-skilled expatriate employees, it signals that Swiss authorities are tightening the rules to promote hiring of local workers in certain sectors, in keeping with the implementation of the 2014 voter referendum to restrict immigration.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Switzerland. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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