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SWITZERLAND – Increased Quotas for non-EU/EFTA Work Permits in 2017

The Swiss government has decided the quotas for highly qualified workers from non-European Union (EU)/European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) countries, as well as for assignees from EU/EFTA countries.

The quotas for non EU/EFTA nationals have been increased by 500 per category compared to the previous two years, whereas those for assignees from EU/EFTA countries remain at the same level.

Which work permits are affected?

The quotas are imposed on a national, rather than per-company, basis, on B permits, which are long term residence permits, valid for up to five years, and renewable.

Once the B permit quotas are reached, applicants are issued with L permits instead – valid for up to 12 months and convertible into a B permit after two years.

2017 Quotas for Non-EU/EFTA Nationals

In 2017 companies in Switzerland can recruit foreign national specialists from non-EU/EFTA countries up to the following national quotas:

  • 4500 L permits;
  • 3000 B permits.

The increase in permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals follows complaints from some cantons that their quota has already been used up this year.

However, the number of L and B work permits issued for non-EU/EFTA nationals in 2017 will still be 1000 fewer than before the 2014 vote that called for a curb on foreign immigration.

2017 Quotas for EU/EFTA National Assignees

The quotas for assignees from EU/EFTA countries to Switzerland for more than 90 and for more than 120 days have remained the same as for 2015 and 2016:

  • 2000 L permits;
  • 250 B permits.

Action Items

  • Note the new quotas for 2017 and expect a continuation of the strict qualifying criteria seen in 2015 and 2016;
  • Employers should plan to submit work permit applications in good time to avoid issues.

This alert was prepared using information provided by Sgier und Partner

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 © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.