News Picks : Swiss limit on immigration may hurt science and technology industry
11 February 2014
Science: On 9 February, Swiss voters approved a referendum to "stop mass immigration" through the use of yearly quotas. The government now has three years to develop and institute a specific policy for immigration quotas. Business groups in Switzerland are worried that the new policy could be a significant problem for science and technology companies. Currently, Switzerland's research and innovation system outperforms the countries in the European Union (EU). A Swiss association of chemistry, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies says that of the 67 000 people its members employ, 45% are immigrants. The loss of the ability to freely hire qualified candidates from other countries may seriously affect how competitive those companies are. The new policy may also have consequences on the relationship between Switzerland and the EU, since it violates the bilateral agreement that allows the free movement of EU citizens to live and work in Switzerland and vice versa.