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SWITZERLAND – Delays to Legal Work Start Date for EU Nationals

Since the introduction of quotas for EU nationals applying for B Permits on 1 June 2013 (see our news alert here, the Federal Migration Office is also stating that work for such applicants may not be commenced until the B Permit has been issued. Previously, work could be commenced after registration only. This will add a lead time of several weeks.

Cantonal Variations

Most cantons will enforce the new rule strictly, meaning that EU nationals caught working prior to the issuance of their B or L permit can and will be penalised. Basel and Zug, so far, do not intend to enforce the rule strictly and will permit work to be carried out after registration only. However, since the instructions come directly from the Federal Migration Office, it is strongly recommended, in whatever canton the applicant will be in, to obtain the permit in advance of commencing work.

Processing Times

Estimated processing time for the B Permits is two to six weeks, with the German speaking cantons tending to be slightly faster than the French speaking cantons. Sufficient lead time should be allowed for the issuance of the permit before the applicant may commence work.

Short Term Assignees/Employees

Note that short term assignees or employees with contracts with duration of less than one year are not affected by the new rule; such applicants will receive L permits directly and may start work as soon as they have registered in Switzerland.

Official Text From Migration Office

The official text from the Federal Migration Office regarding the imposition of quotas on EU-17 nationals (i.e. nationals of countries that joined the EU prior to 2004 can be found here in German and here in French.

Action Items

  • Factor in an additional two to six weeks of lead time before EU nationals on long term assignment/local contract to Switzerland can start work.

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.