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SWITZERLAND: Quotas for 2021

On 25 November 2020, the Federal Council of Switzerland announced that quotas will remain the same for new work permit applications submitted during the 2021 calendar year for non-European Union/European Free Trade Agreement (non-EU/EFTA) nationals (with a stay greater than four consecutive months/120 days per year) and service providers/seconded workers based in the EU/EFTA (also with a stay greater than four consecutive months/120 days per year).

The Federal authorities also confirmed they will grant 2100 B long term permit and 1400 L short term permit for British citizens for 2021.

What to Expect

Taking into account the persistent economic need for specialists from third countries, and the results of discussions conducted with the cantons and social partners, the federal authorities have decided to maintain the same number of B long-term permits and L short-term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals.

The number of B long-term and L short-term for service providers/seconded workers based in the EU/EFTA also remains the same.

The Swiss government announced the following quotas for 2021:

  • 4000 “L” short-term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals;
  • 4500 “B” long-term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals;
  • 3000 “L” short-term permits for service providers/seconded workers based in the EU/EFTA;
  • 500 “B” long-term permits for service providers/seconded workers based in the EU/EFTA;
  • 1400 “L” short-term permits for British nationals;
  • 2100 “B” long-term permits for British nationals.

The quotas for non-EU/EFTA nationals are released on a calendar-year basis while the quotas for service providers/seconded workers based in the EU/EFTA are released on a quarterly basis.

Please note that due to the pandemic this year, not all quotas available in 2020 have been used so the remaining 2020 quotas could be used next year. Although the allocated quotas should be enough to cover all the needs, the quotas for service providers/seconded workers based in the EU/EFTA might still be exhausted before the end of each quarter.

As the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) will stop applying to British citizens, Switzerland decided to grant separate work permit quotas for British citizens for 2021. This measure is only applicable for 2021 and does not prejudge the situation in 2022. The quotas for British citizens will also be released on a quarterly basis.

Work permit applications for British citizens will only be subject to a cantonal decision (non-EU/EFTA work permit applications are subject to cantonal and federal decisions). If no permanent agreement is concluded in 2021, work permit quotas for British citizens will most probably be included in non-EU/EFTA quotas as of 2022.

Our Advice

Employers are advised as follows:

  • Do not wait until the end of the year to submit important applications;
  • Evaluate the possibility of reducing, when possible, short term assignments to four months or 120 days per *twelve-month period, which are not subject to quota availability;
  • Notify the authorities when a work permit has been granted but the person will not use the permit due to a change in plans or if they leave Switzerland prematurely, as it may be possible for the authorities to re-use the granted unit for a new case;
  • Promote, when possible, Swiss local employment contracts to EU/EFTA nationals coming to work in Switzerland (instead of secondment status);
  • Use the trainees exchange program in place between Switzerland and various countries (separate quotas in place for the trainee exchange program);

Contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2019 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.