Why refugees are being denied the right to work in a country where prostitution is legal, will Swiss IDs move over to a digital format, and more in our roundup of Swiss news from July 1 – July 5.
Ukrainian refugees refused visas for sex work
Canton Zürich officials recently announced that it has banned giving sex work licenses to Ukrainian refugees who have applied for them through Switzerland’s special “S” visa program for refugees. “The S status allows the cantons to protect the persons concerned from possible exploitation,” a government official told media last week. They added “A job in the field of sex work is not compatible with this idea.” Some organizations that defend the interests of Swiss sex work – which has been legal in the country since the 1940s – say the move is incomprehensible. Still no word on whether prostitution licenses will be granted in other Swiss cantons. Read more.
Swiss hydro power plant finally opens
Officials from canton Valais announced that the Nant de Drance power plant this month began running a hydropower battery that can store up to 20 million kWh of electricity. The power plant, which took 14 years to construct, resides in a subterranean cave between the Emosson and Vieux Emosson water reservoirs. The CHF 2 billion plant will be used to store excess electricity and, hopefully, help stabilize Swiss and European electricity grids. Read more.
Switzerland to launch electronic ID card
The Swiss government has proposed a digital identity card system to launch in 2025 – a technology officials say could help simplify administrative processes in the country. The optional and free “e-ID” system would streamline Swiss paperwork, while still taking into account data privacy concerns, according to Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter. The draft project will now be presented to local organizations, political groups and Swiss parliament, but may not come to fruition as voters rejected a similar proposal for online IDs in 2021. Read more.
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