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SWITZERLAND – New Quotas for Long Term 2004 EU Nationals

The Swiss government has introduced a new quota system and application criteria for nationals of the eight countries who acceded to the European Union (EU8) in 2004. The new quota is applicable only to those who are employed locally with an unlimited Swiss contract or a contract for longer than 30 months.

Why the New Quota?

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union (EU) but has bilateral agreements with the EU regarding freedom of movement of EU nationals. There is a clause in these bilateral agreements that states that Switzerland may introduce permit quotas “if deemed necessary to protect national interests.”

To be specific, the quotas may be introduced if immigration levels in the previous 12 months have been at least 10% higher than the average of the three years prior. Immigration of EU8 nationals has reached this level and gone beyond it several times.

The new quota will be in place for at least the rest of 2012 and may well be extended at that time for the whole of 2013. From 2014, the EU8 countries will benefit from full freedom of movement.

How Does the New Quota Work?

The new quota is applicable only to EU8 nationals (i.e. nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) who are on local contract for longer than 30 months; i.e. who would apply for a “B” (long term) permit rather than an “L” (short term) permit.

The new quota limits B permit approvals for EU8 nationals to 2000 per year, to be divided into 500 approvals per quarter.

Additionally, the employer in Switzerland will need to show that recruitment efforts have been made in Switzerland and that they were unsuccessful.

How About Employees Already in Switzerland?

This does not affect employees who are already in Switzerland or have already received approvals to work in Switzerland.

This also does not affect other permit types (for example, L permits, 120 day permits, registration online up to 90 days etc.)

Action Items

  • Note that permit quotas have been introduced for B long term permit approvals for EU 8 nationals
  • Note that applications for work authorisation for these nationals will now need to be supported by evidence that no local Swiss resident worker could be found to fill the position in question.

The information in this alert was provided by Sgier and 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.