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Convincing employers Swiss plan to get more refugees into the workforce

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The Swiss migration authorities want to see more refugees actively contributing to the economy.


The Swiss migration office will look at ways to encourage companies to employ more refugees to integrate them into the economy. A study of firms found that many associate refugee staff with extra administrative and financial burdens.

Former Special Envoy for Migration Issues, Eduard Gnesa, was commissioned by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) to find out how employers regard refugees as potential workers. He conducted 55 interviews with companies, industry associations, cantonal authorities and integration specialists.

The key finding was that companies lack information on the conditions of employment of refugees, fear additional effort and have concerns about the qualifications of these job seekers. 

Gnesa has therefore recommended a six-point plan to improve the situation. These include setting up round table talks and an information platform, issuing guidelines on employing refugees and examining the possibility of financial incentives to compensate for extra costs.

SEM has already set about increasing information for employers and of appointing specialist coaches to guide refugees into the workforce. Such measures are due to be completed next year.

“SEM is confident that more intensive cooperation with economic players will enable the existing potential of the temporarily admitted and refugees in Switzerland to be exploited to a greater extent,” SEM stated on Tuesday.

Work experience Refugee farmer project helps facilitate integration

The promoters of a three-year project for refugees to work on Swiss farms has been hailed as a success, despite organisational shortcomings.

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