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Schaeuble to UK: Look to Swiss for Brexit ideas

Staff Writer |
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble suggested in an interview with a Swiss newspaper that the UK adopts Swiss-style policies.

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Switzerland is not a member of the EU, but as the bloc’s third largest trading partner it has traditionally allowed free movement for EU citizens to live and work in the country.

In a referendum in February 2014, Swiss voters backed government plans to impose quotas on EU migration. However, migration quotas were never imposed due to concerns that such controls may jeopardise Switzerland’s trading agreement with the EU.

Controls were imposed on the labour market to promote the rights of Swiss nationals. Employers are required to employ national job applicants ahead of their foreign counterparts.

If employers do not invite Swiss applicants to apply for positions before they advertise to the migrant market, they face a 40,000 fine. Migrants who lose their job within the first year are given six months to leave the country.

Mr Schaeuble has suggested the UK adopts a similar approach - one which balances cooperation with the EU with the rights of nationals.

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