Switzerland – New Quotas for 2019 Work Permit Applications

What has changed

On September 28, 2018, the Federal Council of Switzerland announced new quotas for work permit applications submitted during the 2019 calendar year that will be released on January 1, 2019.

Federal authorities have decided to increase the total number of “B” long-term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals by 1000 authorizations (4500 in total) and decrease the number of “L” short term permits by 500 authorizations (4000 in total).

In addition, the federal authorities have decided not to change the total number of “B” long-term and “L” short-term for foreigners seconded from an employer based in the EU/EFTA.

Who is affected

All clients who plan to hire or transfer non-EU/EFTA nationals and EU/EFTA nationals seconded workers to Switzerland during the 2019 upcoming calendar year.

The new quotas for work permit applications apply to the following applicants: Non-European Union/European Free Trade Agreement (non-EU/EFTA) nationals, foreigners seconded from an employer based outside of the EU/EFTA (with a stay greater than four (4) consecutive months/120 days per year), AND foreigners seconded from an employer based in the EU/EFTA (with a stay greater than four (4) consecutive months/120 days per year).

What to expect

The Swiss government announced the following quotas for 2019:

  • 4,000 authorizations for “L” short term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals or foreigners seconded from an employer based outside of EU/EFTA.
  • 4,500 authorizations for “B” long term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals or foreigners seconded from an employer based outside of EU/EFTA.
  • 3,000 authorizations for “L” short term permits for foreigners seconded from an employer based in the EU/EFTA.
  • 500 authorizations for “B” long term permits for foreigners seconded from an employer based in the EU/EFTA.

The quotas for non-EU/EFTA national or foreigners seconded from an employer based outside of the EU/EFTA are released on a calendar year basis while the quotas for foreigners seconded from an employer based in the EU/EFTA are released on a quarterly basis.

Please note that although more work permits will be available for non-EU/EFTA nationals or foreigners seconded from an employer based outside of EU/EFTA, the quota may be depleted before the end of the year. Furthermore, permit quotas for foreigners seconded from an employer based in the EU/EFTA may be depleted before the end of each quarter.

Authorities will privilege the applications representing the most important economic interest for Switzerland (e.g. executives, positions in a sector of activity with a severe lack of resources, cases with high political implications, companies operating in an innovative sector developing new mandates for the Swiss economy, etc.).

What you need to do

  • Submit important applications well before the end of the year or each trimester.
  • Consider the possibility of reducing short-term assignments to four (4) months or 120 days per twelve (12) month period, which are not subject to quota availability.
  • Notify the authorities when a work permit has been granted but the person will not use the permit due to a change in plans or if they leave Switzerland prematurely, as it may be possible for the authorities to re-use the granted unit for a new case.
  • Promote Swiss local employment contracts to EU/EFTA nationals coming to work at a company branch in Switzerland (instead of secondment status).
  • Utilize the trainees exchange program in-place between Switzerland and various countries (separate quotas in place for the trainee exchange program).
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.