It is mostly Germans who take away well-paid Swiss jobs from the Swiss

The Swiss government may impose temporary limits on immigration for EU job seekers amid rising unemployment in the country, Swiss newspapers reported on Sunday. “Backed by the latest job market and migration statistics, the government will soon make a decision on the possible activation of the protection clause,” justice department spokesman Philippe Piatti told NZZ am Sonntag.

Under an accord between the EU and Switzerland, EU workers can take up jobs in Switzerland without being subject to a work-permit quota system. To protect the Swiss job market from over-saturation, the deal also includes a clause allowing Bern to impose temporary restrictions if immigration grows by over 10 percent in a year compared to the average rate in the previous three years.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Economy Minister Doris Leuthard were preparing a case for a temporary limit on immigration from the EU, it said.

If the clause is activated, immigration from the 15 older EU states would be limited to the average migration rate of the previous year plus 5 percent for a maximum of two years. Such a clause has not been penciled into an extended agreement that included the newer EU member states.

Switzerland’s export-dependent economy has been hit by the global slowdown. Unemployment rose to 3.5 percent in April from 3.4 percent in March, according to official figures reported Friday.