Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 10/07/24


Swiss Refugee Council Visit Website

Asylum seekers staying in a federal asylum centre are not allowed to engage in gainful employment.[1] Asylum seekers who are entitled to pursue gainful employment in accordance with the immigration provisions (who are mainly persons already living in Switzerland with a residence permit and who submit a subsequent asylum application) or who participate in charitable occupational programmes, however, are not subject to the ban on employment.[2] After allocation to a canton, asylum applicants can request permission to work but they are subject to the precedence of domestic employees as regulated by the FNIA.[3] According to statistics published by the SEM, 3,8% of asylum seekers between 18 and 65 years old are active on the labour market.[4]




[1] Article 43(1) AsylA, as amended on 25 September 2018, BBI 2015 7181 and AS 2018 2855.

[2] Article 43(4) AsylA, as amended on 25 September 2018, BBI 2015 7181 and AS 2018 2855.

[3] At Article 21(1), providing that foreign nationals may be permitted to work only if it is proven that no suitable domestic employees or citizens of states with which an agreement on the free movement of workers has been concluded can be found for the job.

[4] SEM, asylum statistics (6-21), available at: New link for 2023 available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection