Home » Ukrainian refugee job push aims for big cut to Swiss welfare costs

Ukrainian refugee job push aims for big cut to Swiss welfare costs

Ukrainian refugee job push aims for big cut to Swiss welfare costs

Over the roughly two years since the first Ukrainian refugees began arriving in Switzerland, more than 90,000 have successfully applied for the temporary right to live in Switzerland. However, only 24% have found work. With finances tight, the federal government is aiming to save around CHF 700 million in refugee welfare payments by getting the employment rate up to 45% among this group, reported RTS.

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This week, Federal Councilor Beat Jans said he expects both companies and Ukrainian refugees to get behind the government’s plan, adding that Swiss bosses and human resources managers should first look for workers in Switzerland before they look in Europe.

Jans also appealed to Ukrainian refugees, saying the country needs them to learn the local language and to work. We need you, and one day Ukraine will need you again, said the Federal Councilor.

The plan aims to have 40% working by the end of 2024 and 45% by the end of 2025. It is hoped this will cut welfare spending by CHF 650 million. By 2028, the aim is to have cut CHF 700 million from annual refugee welfare costs.

More will be expected to register at employment centres. Currently, only a small proportion have. Initiatives such as a job platform operated by ETH Zurich and the University of Lausanne are expected to help.

In addition, more work needs to be done on acquiring language knowledge. Poor language skills are often an obstacle for finding work. Some people can achieve a working knowledge of a language in a few hundred hours. For others it can take much longer. 30,000 have signed up for free courses, leaving many that haven’t.

Another challenge is matching skills to available jobs. In many cases compromise will be required. A cantonal minister from Bern said that integration doesn’t work like a menu. People must be ready to accept jobs that don’t completely match their existing skills in order to support themselves and move off welfare.

More on this:
RTS article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

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