What is the change?  The Swiss Cabinet has agreed to raise the quota on work permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals by 500 permits to a total of 8,500 in 2019.

What does the change mean? The increase primarily affects long-term B permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals, which will increase from 3,500 in 2018 to 4,500 in 2019, while the shorter-term L permits will be reduced from 4,500 to 4,000. Quotas on work permits for EU/EFTA nationals will remain the same as 2018 (500 B permits, 3,000 L permits).

  • Implementation time frame: 2019.
  • Visas/permits affected: B permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals.
  • Business impact: The increase in the quota is a response to business leaders’ demands for greater access to skilled labor.

Background: Swiss voters called for curbs on immigration in a 2014 referendum, leading the federal government to lower quotas for B permits that are valid for five years, and L permits that are valid for up to one year. Since then, business leaders and cantonal governments, especially Basil, Geneva and Zurich, pushed for the quotas to be raised and warned of skills shortages. The 2019 quotas represent a return to the pre-referendum levels.

Analysis & Comments: The increase in permit numbers in 2019 should help address the pressure on quotas and oversubscription that has occurred in recent years.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.