Switzerland – Work Permit Quotas Announced for 2017

What has changed

On Wednesday, October 12, 2016, the Federal Council of Switzerland announced quotas for new work permit applications submitted during the 2017 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 EU/EFTA nationals on assignment/secondment (with a stay greater than four consecutive months/120 days per year).

Who is affected?

  • Non-EU/EFTA nationals and EU/EFTA nationals

What to expect

Taking into account the persistent economic needs of specialists from third countries and the results of discussions conducted with the cantons and social partners, the federal authorities have decided to increase the total number of permits available for non-EU/EFTA (B long term and L short term permits) for 2017 by 1000 authorizations.

The quotas for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment/secondment remain the same for 2016.

The Swiss government announced the following quotas for 2017:

  • 4500 “L” short term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals
  • 3000 “B” long term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals
  • 2000 “L” short term permits for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment/secondment
  • 250 “B” long term permits for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment/secondment

Please note that although there will be more work permits available for non-EU/EFTA nationals, the quota might be exhausted during the fourth quarter. Also, permit quotas for EU/EFTA  nationals on assignment/secondment are released on a quarterly basis. Quotas are usually not available in the third month of each quarter.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • 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 (4) months or 120 days per twelve (12) 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);
  • Utilize the trainees exchange program in place between Switzerland and various countries (separate quotas in place for the trainee exchange program);
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.