A new programme, based on a pilot project which ran for three years, has been launched. The programme will help asylum seekers to work on Swiss farms.
Five Swiss cantons have signed up to the programme, which offers asylum seekers entry level farming apprenticeships. 12 have already signed up to start in August. The five cantons include Bern, Aargau, Neuchâtel, Ticino and Fribourg.
The pilot, which took in 30 people, succeeded in training 24. 14 of these were offered jobs and 10 accepted. Over half are from Eritrea, with the rest coming from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet and Syria.
After a month of familiarisation on reduced pay, participants received a salary of CHF 3,200 a month.
This programme, which was supported by the Swiss Farmers Union, is part of a broader initiative by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) that covers 10 industries including the construction, hospitality and health sectors.
The pre-apprenticeship programme aims to train 800 to 1,000 asylum seekers and refugees every year until 2022.