Sunday, 13 January 2013

Swiss Move Towards Barring Eurozone Refugees

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH: Thousands of jobless young people from southern European countries ravaged by the eurozone crisis have come to work in Switzerland. But the Swiss are starting to think there too many: a referendum may reimpose immigration quotas.

The Edelweiss Hotel in the heart of Geneva is as Swiss as a cuckoo clock, with chalet-style pine furniture, spotless rooms, and staff in smart uniforms modelled on Alpine folk costumes.

They look the part, but none of the 38 waiters, chambermaids and receptionists are actually Swiss: nearly all are economic refugees from the eurozone, like Vera Correia, 24.

A year ago she was a secretary with a small computer firm near Porto, earning 700 euros (£570) a month, but after years of economic gloom she decided she had no future at home in Portugal. Now she cleans rooms for a salary of 3,500 Swiss Francs (£2,356) a month.

“My boss said it was a pity to become a cleaner after I had done so much studying,” she said. “But my pay has gone up here and I will try to find a similar position to my old one when my French is better.”

So many young Portuguese, Greeks, Italians and Spaniards have streamed in to try their luck - 75,000 foreigners arrived last year - that calls are growing to re-introduce immigration quotas. » | Nick Meo, Geneva | Sunday, January 13, 2013