While more than 40,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Switzerland since the start of the conflict, many have been here for a long time, mostly women, and want to work to start their lives here. And if they have the right, finding a job is complicated in their situation.
Their names are Larissa, Tatiana or Olena. In Ukraine they were speech therapists, designers or entrepreneurs. Now refugees in Switzerland, they want to find a job. But despite the diplomas and experience, it is not without its pitfalls.
Language is the first of the difficulties they encounter. None of them thought that one day they should learn French and they need to start quickly, because they need it to find a job.
Faced with the emergency, the People’s University of Geneva added French lessons to its program and all these women determined to learn the language as quickly as possible were stormed. “I hope to be able to speak French correctly within three months,” says Alla, interviewed on Sunday at Mise au point.
A bit of luck
We also need a little luck, Olga testifies at his side. She, who hastily left the city of Kharkiv at the end of February with her son, says he was able to take her laptop with him, which was very useful for finding work.
She just got hired at a digital marketing company. A Ukrainian compatriot, Yulia, settled here long before the war took her under its wing: “We were looking for a company secretary. And Olga has great skills because she worked in several universities. She also speaks English. So we hired her right away.” .
Olga has a master’s degree in chemistry so she has to adapt a bit. But, step by step, she integrates herself and her son already plays in the Neuchâtel juniors. She intends to stay. “Honestly I don’t want to go back. Yeah because my house is half destroyed. And then I lost my job. Besides, in Kharkiv, we are very close to Russia. Who tells me that the war will stop one day? And even if it ends, who is it? tell me it won’t start again in three years?
And the young woman insisted: “For me it is a trauma. And anyway, after the invasion, my son told me ‘I don’t want to go back to Ukraine anymore'”.
From TV to La Broye’s kitchens
In Payerne, for her part, Svitlana conducted a two-day rehearsal in a renowned restaurant in the region. She says she is very nervous, even though she is not just any cook. In Ukraine she took part in the Masterchef show and her television appearances are numerous.
Stéphane Rapin, manager of the Payerne golf course restaurant, says he is optimistic: “He has a lot of experience. He has done great things, the first impression is very good.”
And for Svetlana too, good humor takes over and immediately ensures that she feels more relaxed, she for whom arriving in Switzerland was not easy: “Most of the restaurants offered to cook fast food. Another told me I could Just cleaning the dishes. They didn’t care about me or my education and all the courses I took. So yeah, sometimes it’s hard. “
But the story ends well: at the end of the trial, the boss offers him a fixed-term contract. An opportunity for her, but also for Switzerland, says Stéphane Rapin. She svetlana she also says she is happy, although she will still have to adapt to a new culture, new traditions and other ways of cooking.
Cases of feared underpayments
Apart from these particular cases, hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are currently making desperate Internet calls to find work in Switzerland. And the profiles are very varied, ranging from hairdressers to sports coaches to teachers.
Others offer babysitters for 10 or even 7 francs an hour. However, if it is simply illegal to pay someone at this rate, employers are likely to abuse the situation to underpay their employees.
Find a job to avoid changing cantons
And especially since the search for a job is urgent for some. This is the case of Anna, who in the next few days will have to leave Geneva if she cannot find a job, due to the new federal rules on the distribution of refugees. However, her children are enrolled in school and an acquaintance lends them a small study.
But it does not matter, she was assigned to Valais and there she will have to start all over again, with the key to a new uprooting: “My children have already had to leave Kiev once by force. They left their father, their grandparents-parents, their friends. They are just getting used to here in Geneva. ” “I want to protect them from this stress,” she concludes, hoping to find a job and thus have the state revoke her decision. Meanwhile, this former financial employee spends her days sending out CVs and cover letters.
“I never wanted to leave my country to go elsewhere. But since I’m here, I would like to be useful to this company by working and being independent. I don’t want to wait for the Swiss government to give me the money, it’s not my ambition”, concludes Anna .
TV report: Jérôme Galichet
Web adaptation: Frédéric Boillat