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Switzerland’s Federal Initiative “Against Mass Immigration”: How is it being implemented?
| Cesare Annecchiarico

Switzerland’s Federal Initiative “Against Mass Immigration”: How is it being implemented?

On 9 February 2014, the people of Switzerland voted in favour of the federal popular initiative "against mass immigration" with 50.3%. How will the initiative be implemented?

With the acceptance of the “against mass immigration” initiative, the Federal Council and Parliament of Switzerland were obliged to introduce a new immigration system within three years, which, on the one hand, enables Switzerland to implement an instrument for managing immigration, taking into account macroeconomic interests and giving priority to Swiss nationals. It must also be noted that the new article in the Federal Constitution does not contradict the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (FZA) and the bilateral treaties with the European Union.

Several draft laws were submitted to Parliament on 4 March 2016. In addition, the Federal Council noted that the constitutional provisions on immigration would be implemented, but that an amicable solution would also be sought with the European Union. For this reason, the Federal Department of Justice and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs held intensive discussions with representatives of the European Union until the summer of 2016. However, the Brexit referendum quickly made it clear that no common solution would be found with the European Union.

Nonetheless, on 21 September 2016, the National Council enacted the so-called "Inländervorrang light" (“search proof light”), which was later confirmed by the Council of State. The implementation of the “Inländervorrang light” was passed on 8 December 2017.

In concrete terms, the new law will introduce a job reporting obligation in those professions in which unemployment exceeds a certain threshold. As of 1 July 2018, a threshold value of 8% applies and as of 1 January 2020, a threshold value of 5% will apply. SECO (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs) published a list of professions with high unemployment rates on 30 April 2018.

What does the introduction of  “Inländervorrang light” mean for employers?

As a consequence of “Inländervorrang light”, employers must report all jobs in professions where the unemployment rate reaches or exceeds the noted threshold to the Regional Employment Agency Centre (RAV) and publish them on their homepage for at least five days before the actual publication. The RAV must then notify the employer of suitable dossiers within three days. As a result, the employer must invite suitable job seekers to an interview or at least conduct an aptitude test and inform the RAV whether they will be hired. A refusal of the applicant does not have to be justified with the RAV.

Are there exceptions?

The federal government has also defined exceptions in the implementation of the new legislation. If jobs are filled by people registered with the RAV, they do not have to be reported. Additionally, jobs do not have to be reported if:

  • Positions within a company are filled by persons who have been employed for at least six months
  • The maximum duration of employment is 14 days
  • Positions within a company are filled by persons who are related to authorised signatories in the company by marriage or registered partnership or are related by marriage or as an in-law or related by marriage in a straight line or are first degree relatives 
If you have any questions about the implementation of this referendum, please contact Cesare Annecchiarico at