• Notes from the Federal Palace

Help in entering the Swiss job market

09.12.2021 – LAURENT HODIO

When Swiss Abroad return to Switzerland, it often means they are also looking for a job. Finding one is not always easy. However, there is an office in Basel dedicated to assisting them.

Around ten years ago, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) set up an advisory service for Swiss Abroad who wanted to return and work in Switzerland. The Recruitment Act formed the basis for this measure. In July 2019, SECO transferred its advisory and employment services to the Office of Economy and Labour of the canton of Basel-Stadt (AWA BS). AWA BS is now entrusted with providing Swiss job seekers from abroad with the best possible support in preparing for reintegration into the Swiss employment market. Ideally, assistance from AWA BS will help them find jobs before they return to Switzerland, or at least point them in the right direction. AWA BS is geared to providing practical guidance and advice tailored to each individual.

There are many good jobs available on the Swiss labour market, but it’s not always easy for returnees to find a foothold. Photo: iStock

In greater demand due to the pandemic

People of employable age represent the AWA BS target group – totalling just over 442,000, or 57 per cent of all Swiss Abroad, in 2020. An average of 100 people returning to Switzerland contact AWA BS every year. The office in Basel received a record number of enquiries in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with massive job losses and a decline in economic activity around the world suddenly causing many Swiss to return home.

Besides searching for a job, many returnees also applied for financial and material assistance. They received advice and support during this difficult period, thanks to effective cooperation between AWA BS, SECO and the FDFA.

Practical information

AWA BS is no recruitment agency, but it provides practical information about the job market and terms of employment in Switzerland as well as putting Swiss returnees in touch with potential employers and recruitment companies. It also offers tips on preparing job applications (CVs, cover letters).

Last year, AWA BS received 254 enquiries from Swiss Abroad, with 98 people subsequently registering with the office and 156 people obtaining assistance without signing up. Those who sign up can access job vacancies in Switzerland via the online public employment information system

Enquiries from around the world

AWA BS receives enquiries from all corners of the world. Most of these in 2020 came from Swiss Abroad in Europe (42 per cent) – followed by Latin America (17 per cent), Asia (16 per cent), Africa (12 per cent), North America (10 per cent) and Oceania (3 per cent).

Laurent Hodio
Swiss Abroad Advisor
Office of Economy and Labour of the canton of Basel-Stadt
Hochstrasse 37, P.O. Box , CH-4002 Basel
Tel. +41 61 267 50 28, Fax +41 61 267 50 80
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