Background

Swiss work permits are limited by quota, as follows:

  • 4´000 L permits for Non-EU nationals
  • 2´500 B permits for Non-EU nationals
  • 2´000 L permits for EU/EFTA assignees
  • 250 B permits for EU/EFTA assignees

Please note that the above quotas are only relevant for permits that are valid for more than 4 months or 120 days. All permits valid for up to 4 months or 120 days remain quota free.

Please note that permits for EU/EFTA citizens locally hired in Switzerland and subject to Swiss social security are not affected, as they are not subject to quota restrictions.

IMPORTANT! The quota for Non-EU work permits is released annually and dispatched to the cantons according to a specific number set in advance. The quota for work permits for EU /EFTA assignees is released quarterly for all of Switzerland.

No quotas left for EU/EFTA assignees until 1 April 2016

There are no more quotas left for assignees from EU/EFTA countries for the 1st quarter of 2016. This means that until 1 April 2016, it will not be possible to obtain new work permits valid for more than four months / 120 days for EU nationals assigned to Switzerland as part of an intra-company assignment or to work on a project at a client site.

Suggestions on how to deal with the current situation

  • For extensions of work permits no quota is required - business as usual.
  • Work permit conversions from a quota free work permit into a longer term work & resi-dence permit will not be possible until 1 April 2016. For such cases, the on-line notifica-tion procedure will likely have to be used in the next 30 days as an interim solution.

New applications for EU/EFTA assignees

  • For all EU/EFTA assignees who need to start to work in Switzerland prior to 1 April 2016, there are the following options: use the on-line notification or obtain 120 day / 4 month quota free work permits;
  • For EU/EFTA assignees who need to start to work in Switzerland as of 1 April 2016, an application for a work permit should be submitted as soon as possible.
  • As EU/EFTA work permits for local hires are not restricted by a quota, we advise, when-ever possible, to switch assignees to a local Swiss employment contract. This implies however the registration of the employee in the Swiss social security system and would result in the individual being subject to Swiss employment regulation

What changes can we expect in the coming months

Generally all work permit applications are increasingly scrutinized by the different immigration authorities involved. Due to cantonal differences and the persistent change in the practice, we highly recommend that companies carefully check the need and requirements for all new se-condments to Switzerland very closely.

We expect further pressure to provide detailed and well drafted applications that outline the specific need for each assignment and the economic benefit thereof for the company and the Swiss canton where the employee will be assigned. Therefore we kindly ask that you support us to obtain the required information, as detailed and specific as possible, on any upcoming as-signments.