Federal Council to strengthen labour market integration of people with protection status S

Bern, 08.05.2024 - At its meeting on 8 May the Federal Council took note of a package of national measures intended to support people with protection status S integrating into the labour market. The measures will cultivate closer cooperation between the federal government, cantonal governments, social partners and organisations of affected people in order to achieve this. The Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) has appointed a labour market integration officer, who will be responsible for strengthening ties with the private sector. The Federal Council also intends to make it easier to have qualifications recognised, and to improve services provided by regional employment centres (RAVs). These new measures will supplement the cantons’ existing integration measures, with the objective of achieving 40% employment by the end of the year.

Around 65,000 people with protection status S are currently living in Switzerland. As of the end of April, the overall employment rate among this group was 24%, with a high average work-time percentage of 70%. For those people with protection status S who have been living in Switzerland since the first half of 2022, the employment rate is around 32%.

The FDJP was mandated by the Federal Council in November 2023 to develop a set of measures designed to raise the employment rate to 40%. The measures are meant to supplement the cantonal programmes to promote integration (Program S) and are being planned in cooperation with the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), the cantons and social partners. Protection status S is granted with a view to affected people eventually returning home. Raising the employment rate is nevertheless an objective in order to relieve the strain on the social assistance system. This will also have a positive effect on the countries of origin, as people who have maintained or newly acquired qualifications will be better able to assist with rebuilding upon their return.

Improving RAV services

The Federal Council has therefore adopted a package of measures that strengthen cooperation between the federal and cantonal governments on the integration programme launched immediately following the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. For example, only a small fraction of people with protection status S are currently registered with their regional employment centres (RAVs). In future, authorities responsible for social assistance and integration support will work more closely with public recruitment-service providers. This will facilitate RAV registration for people with protection status S who are able to work and improve labour market placement more generally. Cantonal social assistance authorities have been requested to register these people with public recruitment services since the beginning of the year. The Federal Council has also instructed the FDJP to examine a legal obligation for this registration.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will implement more targeted communication, information and awareness raising in order to improve cooperation. There are plans to hold a national conference on 20 June.

In order to strengthen cooperation with industry, the FDJP has appointed Adrian Gerber, currently head of the Integration Division at SEM, as labour market integration officer. He will facilitate coordination between the administration and industry, and bring companies on board to help integrate people with protection status S into the labour market. In the coming year they should also receive access to the employment platform run by ETH Zurich and EPFL that is tailored to the needs of refugees.

Support to gain recognition of qualifications

The Federal Council also intends to work on the recognition of qualifications. Additional qualifications are often required, but those affected generally need support in areas such as acquiring information on the procedures involved. SEM is working with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) to support a growing set of pilot projects designed to expand offerings in this area. Recognised refugees and people granted temporary admission can also benefit from these measures to improve labour market integration.

The FDJP has also been tasked with examining additional ways to improve the labour market integration of people with protection status S. Particular attention is being given to incentives relating to departure deadlines set following the expiry of protection status S as a way of increasing labour market participation among people in need of protection coming from Ukraine. The FDJP reports to the Federal Council and will provide a procedure proposal by autumn 2024.

In 2025 the Federal Council aims to further increase the employment rate to 45%. The FDJP will examine possible  changes to the Program S by the end of May 2025, in order to provide financial incentives for the cantons to meet this target.


Address for enquiries

State Secretariat for Migration – Information and Communication, medien@sem.admin.ch


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Publisher

The Federal Council
https://www.admin.ch/gov/en/start.html

Federal Department of Justice and Police
http://www.ejpd.admin.ch

State Secretariat for Migration
https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home.html

Last modification 06.06.2024

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