Switzerland – Brexit: Federal Council announces temporary work permit quota scheme for UK nationals

The Swiss Federal Council has approved a temporary quota scheme which will be allow UK nationals to apply for work authorization in Switzerland after Brexit.

What does this mean?

The temporary quota offers a temporary solution to UK nationals who will no longer be covered by the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, and will be considered third-country nationals, after Brexit, and will offer 3,500 work permits to said nationals between March 30 and Dec. 31. Specifically, the Swiss government will offer 2,100 residence permits (B) and 1,400 short-stay permits (L). The cantons will be notified on a quarterly basis on the maximum number of UK nationals they can admit.

  • Implementation time frame: March 30.
  • Who is impacted: UK nationals applying for work permits after March 30. 
  • Business impact: Employers will be able to recruit UK nationals for employment in Switzerland between March 30 and Dec. 31. 

Last month, The Swiss Federal Council approved a bilateral Swiss-U.K. agreement which will administer the status of U.K. nationals in Switzerland and Swiss nationals in the U.K. Under the agreement, U.K. nationals registered in Switzerland and Swiss nationals registered in the U.K. before the Swiss-U.K. agreement goes into force, as well as their dependents, will preserve their status under the EU-Swiss Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (FMOPA). The agreement also covers cross-border workers in both countries, such as G-permit holders working in Switzerland.

Deloitte’s View

While the Swiss- U.K. bilateral agreement announced last month provided some certainty to employers as well as to U.K. and Swiss nationals residing in each other’s country, it did not include provisions regarding post-transition procedures. The council’s decision to offer a temporary quota scheme for UK nationals provides additional clarity and provides employers with the option to recruit and hire UK nationals following Brexit. More details regarding the number of work permits available by canton are expected by the end of March as the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) will draft amendments to the Ordinance on Admission, Period of Stay and Employment (ASEO) by the end of March.

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