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Switzerland: five cantons to extend pilot scheme to offer jobs in agriculture to migrants

Switzerland: five cantons to extend pilot scheme to offer jobs in agriculture to migrants

Switzerland cantons are deepening the integration scheme for migrants, in five cantons, the project ‘Working with farmers’ gives a job opportunity to refugees or people on short-term visas, The Local said.

The Swiss Union of Farmers and the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration have launched the project ‘Working with farmers’ in 2015. It solves two problems: Integrating refugees and filling the employment gap in Switzerland’s farming and livestock sectors. The scheme was largely deemed successful by its evaluators and will now be extended until 2022. The project cost 280,000 Swiss francs (€242,000) over three years to implement.

According to the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration, of 45 trial places that were made available on the program, 30 were filled. Each worker received 3,200 Swiss francs (€2,772) per month and an additional 200 Swiss francs (€173) for successfully overcoming the required bureaucratic hurdles. The participants’ language abilities improved throughout the scheme, as did their social and professional skills, according to the employers.

Switzerland is ready to employ migrants

Swiss authorities find the project very successful, according to its a review of the project by the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL) in the canton of Bern. Thus, the scheme ‘Working with farmers will now be extended until 2022, an official announcement appeared on the Swiss governmental portal on August 8th.

More than a million tonnes of sugar beet, the most farmed vegetable, were harvested in 2016. Most livestock and crops are for domestic consumption, not for export, part of a food security policy undertaken by the Swiss government.

Lofty figures, but employment in the agricultural sector has dramatically fallen in recent decades. In 2013, agriculture in Switzerland employed half the number of people it did in 1975, according to an earlier report by the Swiss government.