What is the change? The Swiss government has set work-permit quotas for 2021, leaving them unchanged for both EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA nationals. A separate quota will be introduced for U.K. nationals as the Swiss-U.K. Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons is set to come to an end Dec. 31.

  • Implementation time frame: Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Visas/permits affected: B and L permits. Permits for 120 days or up to a maximum four consecutive months are exempt from quotas.
  • Who is affected: Employers and non-Swiss nationals coming to Switzerland for work.
  • Business impact: Employees should anticipate that in 2021 the same total number of B and L permits will be available as in 2019.

Additional Information: Quotas will be set as follows:

Permit Type EU/EFTA Non-EU/EFTA (excluding U.K.) U.K. nationals
B Permits 500 4,500 2,100
L Permits 3,000 4,000 1,400

Analysis & Comments: After increasing the quotas in 2019 to address labor shortages and respond to business demands for greater access to skilled workers, Swiss officials have decided to keep the same quotas for EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA nationals the second year in a row. The category for U.K. nationals will be added because the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons will come to an end at the end of 2020. Quotas are released on a quarterly basis.

The separate U.K. quotas are currently set for only one year and take into account the special relationship between the U.K. and Switzerland. For the time being, permits for U.K. nationals are subject to the purview of cantonal competent authority and do not fall under the federal approval procedure. If no bilateral agreement between the U.K. and Switzerland on the migration regime is concluded within the next 12 months, the U.K. quotas might be integrated in the general non-EU/EFTA quotas in 2022.

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