What is the change? The number of L permits issued to EU/EFTA nationals on assignment for longer than four months has reached its limit in Zurich for the first quarter of 2015.

What does the change mean? Zurich has stopped issuing new L permits for EU/EFTA assignees until April 1; however, other cantons are continuing to approve the L permits and the numbers are changing daily depending on the jurisdiction.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: L permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers sponsoring EU/EFTA nationals for assignments exceeding four months with planned start dates before April 1.
  • Business impact: The impact will not be major because EU/EFTA nationals may apply for non-quota permits for up to four months while they prepare applications for L permits on or before April 1.
  • Next steps: Employers impacted by the quotas should contact their BAL attorney to find suitable alternatives.

Background: Last year, Switzerland reduced the quotas for L permits from 3,000 to 2,000 for EU/EFTA assignees. L permits cover work assignments longer than four months but less than one year. Work permits for stays of four months or less are not subject to quotas. In addition, EU/EFTA nationals working on local contracts and registered with Swiss Social Security are not subject to quotas.

For employees whose L permits expire before April 1, some cantons still allow extensions.

BAL Analysis: As the quota numbers are fluid and individual cantons do not report their numbers, employers wishing to send EU national assignees to Switzerland should contact their BAL attorney to determine whether an application has a chance of approval or will be kept by canton authorities until new quotas are available (or be rejected as in Zurich currently). Employees who must start work before April 1 can apply for permits for up to four months outside the quota restrictions. Employers should prepare to file applications for new L permits for the second quarter. In Zurich, applications for quota-subject permits may be filed one month before new quota numbers are available. Therefore, employers may begin to apply on March 1 in Zurich for second-quarter quota permits.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Switzerland. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact