Jean-Michel Dolivo put forward a motion for Vaud to follow Geneva and grant permits to illegal workers. Vaud’s cantonal parliament rejected the plan by 71 votes to 60. The proposal would have worked in a similar way to Papyrus, a plan unveiled in Geneva recently, which grants visas to illegal workers that meet certain residence and financial criteria. Dolivo saw his plan as a way to deal with clandestine workers, estimated to number 12,000 across the canton.
The left described the current situation as hypocritical. “We can’t turn a blind eye. Some pay taxes and send their children to school in the canton” said Valérie Induni (PS/SP).
Some on the right complained of the moral hazard it would create, attracting more clandestine workers. “Regularising those who have deceived the state, what a great move” said Véronique Hürni (PLR/FDP).
Separately, in a statement the UDC/SVP said it thinks giving permits to illegal workers sends a disastrous signal. Instead of reducing clandestine workers they believe it will make the problem worse by advertising the possibility that illegal residents can eventually gain legal status. In addition, they say this process means typically poorly qualified people from developing countries will get visas, while large companies will need to apply for permits for qualified professional people from non-EU countries.
There are an estimated 76,000 illegal workers across Switzerland.