Switzerland – Work Permit Quotas Announced for 2016

What has changed

On Tuesday, November 11, 2015, the Federal Council of Switzerland announced quotas for new work permit applications submitted during the 2016 calendar year. Although a majority of Swiss Cantons and social partners were in favor of increasing the quotas, the Federal Council considered that an increase would not be compatible with its objective to promote the use of local workforce. Therefore, the Federal Council of Switzerland decided to maintain the quotas at the same level as 2015, i.e. significantly below the quotas available until 2014.

Who is affected?
What to expect

  • non-EU/EFTA and EU/EFTA detached workers

The Swiss government announced the following quotas for 2016:

  • 4000 “L” short term permits for non-European Union/European Free Trade Agreement (non-EU/EFTA) nationals
  • 2500 “B” long term permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals
  • 2000 “L” short term permits for EU/EFTA detached workers planning to have more than 120 days employment in Switzerland
  • 250 “B” long term permits for EU/EFTA detached workers planning to have more than 120 days employment in Switzerland

Impact for non-EU/EFTA nationals: The very limited number of quotas lead to quota shortage towards the end of the year. In November 2015, some Cantons are already running short of B long term permit quotas. The authorities so far have been dealing with this by granting L short term permits instead. However, due to the significantly lower number of permit quotas in comparison with 2014, this may trigger a domino effect. The same situation is to be expected in 2016.

Impact for EU/EFTA detached workers: Permit quotas for EU/EFTA detached workers are released on a quarterly basis. Due to the massive cuts in quotas for 2015, no more quotas were available in the second month of each quarter. The same situation is to be expected in 2016.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • For non-EU/EFTA nationals: quota shortage in all Cantons is to be expected towards end-2016. If an assignment start date is flexible, it may be recommendable to schedule it as early as possible in 2016.
  • For EU/EFTA detached workers: If an assignment start date is flexible, we highly recommend to schedule it for the beginning of a quarter or to plan sufficiently ahead to submit the application at the beginning of a quarter.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.