What is the change? The first-quarter quota for L permits in Switzerland has been exhausted.

What does the change mean? EU/EFTA nationals who are assigned to Switzerland but remain on foreign employment contracts may not be able to obtain L permits quotas until April 1. Options vary from canton to canton on how employers in need of L permit employees should proceed in the interim.

  • Implementation time frame:Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: L permits.
  • Who is affected:Employers and EU/EFTA nationals on assignment in Switzerland. This does not impact 120-day permits or short-term permits.
  • Business impact:Employers may have to adjust start dates and timelines for EU assignees in Switzerland.
  • Next steps: Employers are encouraged to contact their BAL representative to discuss options for recruiting and hiring EU/EFTA nationals who require L permits.

Background: Switzerland announced in November that it would issue the same number of L permits in 2016 as in 2015, even as a majority of cantons and business interests had hoped for a boost in the quota numbers. A total of 4,000 L permits will be available for all of 2016, and the first quota allocation of L permits was recently exhausted.

Procedures vary from canton to canton on how best to deal with the exhaustion of L permits—in some cases, EU/EFTA nationals may be able to start work even without a quota. In Zurich, for example, authorities will consider granting permit approval for a one-month period, after which applicants may apply for an L Permit for the second quarter. In Basel and Aargau, authorities will consider issuing a preliminary decision that allows assignees to start work before receiving a second-quarter quota on April 1.

BAL continues to examine procedures in other cantons, but in some cases it may be necessary to postpone start dates.

BAL Analysis: The exhaustion of first-quarter L permits after less than two months points to the limited number of permits the Swiss government has made available, as it continues to advance the country’s goal of favoring local workers when possible. Employers looking to recruit or hire EU/EFTA nationals on L permits should contact their BAL attorney to discuss the options available to them in their particular canton.

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.

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