Switzerland – Work Permit Quotas for 2017 Update

What has changed

Some cantonal labour authorities have confirmed that their B permit quota allocated by the Federal Migration Authorities for 2017 has already been exhausted. A portion of the annual quotas is divided between the cantons based on their economic needs; the other portion is managed by the Federal Migration Authorities, which, based on a formal request from a particular canton, may grant a unit of B permits from their reserve.

Who is affected?

  • Non-EU/EFTA nationals¬†and EU/EFTA nationals

What to expect

Although it was announced in our immigration alert on October 14, 2016 that there will be 500 additional units of B permits, 2017 will still be a challenging year in terms of B permit quotas available for various cantons. As the B permit quota in 2016 was almost exhausted at the beginning of Q4, various cantonal labour authorities had to postpone the consideration of applications submitted in Q4 to January 2017 when the new annual quota was released. Consequently, many B permit units of the 2017 quota have been used for applications submitted at the end of 2016.

When a particular canton has to request a B permit unit from the Federal Migration Authorities, the processing times may be impacted and a stronger argumentation and additional documentation from the sponsoring employer may be required.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Do not wait until the end of the year to submit important applications;
  • Evaluate the possibility of reducing, when possible, 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 when possible Swiss local employment contracts to EU/EFTA nationals, officially employed outside of the EU, coming to work 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.

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.