In 2014, the Swiss electorate adopted what is termed the "mass immigration initiative" (Eidgenössische Volksinitiative «Gegen Masseneinwanderung»), which aims to regulate immigration to Switzerland more strictly. Since 1 July 2018, as part of the implementation of the initiative, Swiss citizens and EU nationals in Switzerland are now given priority when filling vacancies.

Swiss employers are also required to report all vacancies in job categories with an unemployment rate of eight percent or more to the Public Employment Service (PES; öffentlichen Arbeitsvermittlung, öAV) or regional employment centres (REOs; regionalen Arbeitsvermittlungszentren, RAV). The vacancies in these sectors are then offered for five working days to the employees of the PES and to people registered with the PES as jobseekers before they can be advertised to the entire market. During this time, the REOs forward the dossiers of suitable candidates for these jobs to the PES, which examines these dossiers and, if necessary, initiates job interviews.

Overview of changes implemented since 1 January 2020

Beginning 1 January 2020, the unemployment rate percentage requiring employers to report vacancies in a job category has been lowered. Vacancies in occupational categories with an unemployment rate of five percent or more must now be advertised on the above-mentioned platforms. This change prompts us to review and consider the future outlook.

In the first year since the introduction of the job registration requirement in July 2018, a total of 200,000 jobs were registered with the PES, of which nearly 100 percent were checked and advertised within one day. The PES was able to propose at least one suitable candidate for more than half of the advertised positions. Employers hired eight percent of candidates that were recommended by REOs. The Swiss government, therefore, shows a positive record: the steady increase in the number of jobs reported, the rapid processing by the Reporting Office and the consistent mediation by the REOs are proof of the acceptance and consistent implementation of the job reporting requirement.

The reference period for the job registration requirement in 2020 is the period from October 2018 to September 2019, during which the unemployment rate for Switzerland was on average 2.3 percent. The reduction of the percentage for job categories with an unemployment rate of five percent will take place at the same time as the change in the professional nomenclature. Learn more here.

This change will ensure better differentiation between very similar but differently qualified professional groups. For example, qualified cooks will no longer be subject to the requirement to register from 2020, but assistant cooks will continue to be subject to the requirement to register. Similar differentiation in other sectors, such as construction and marketing, will also have similar results. The complete list of professions subject to the requirement to register can be found here.

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