On 28 September 2018, the Swiss government announced an increase in the work permit quotas for the coming year. The quotas for Non-EU work permits will be increased to 4,500 long-term (B) permits (+1,000 compared with this year), whereas the short-term (L) permit quotas will be decreased to 4,000 (-500).
What does this mean?
In 2019, companies doing business in Switzerland will have access to an increased number of Swiss work permits to fulfil their business needs.
For Non-EU nationals, the Swiss immigration authorities will be able to release 1,000 more B permits in 2019 compared with 2018. These additional quotas will be allocated to the ‘federal reserve’ and not to the cantons. This means that the cantonal labour authorities will be able to request additional quotas from the federal authority when they run short of their own quotas. With this, the Swiss government aims to make the system more flexible and to meet the different economic needs of each canton.
For EU nationals assigned to Switzerland, the quota situation remains the same as in the past year.
Background: the Swiss work-permit quota system
Switzerland applies a quota system for work permits issued to Non-EU nationals and to EU assignees/ service providers who need to work in Switzerland for more than four months or 120 days per year. Work permits valid for less than four months or 120 days are thus not subject to the availability of quotas.
Permits for EU nationals working on the basis of a local Swiss employment contract and subject to Swiss social security are not affected, as they are not subject to quotas.
The quotas for Non-EU permits are released by the Swiss Government annually and each canton is allocated a specific number of them.
The quotas for EU assignee permits are released via a federal 'pot' quarterly for the whole of Switzerland. In order to issue an EU quota permit, a canton must take one from the federal 'pot' on a first come, first served basis.
PwC will continue to closely monitor the situation on the Swiss labour market and advise on any upcoming changes.