In November 2019, we provided an overview of the number of quotas available for EU and non-EU citizens, who wish to work and live in Switzerland. Read our previous blog on this topic here. This blog provides an update of the quotas available for 2020.
If you have been following this topic, you are probably familiar with the Swiss quota system. Understanding how the quota system works is very important, as, for some of us, access to the Swiss employment market can be rather limited.
For those of you reading our blog for the first time, if you want to work and live in Switzerland for more than four months, you must apply for a permit that is, in essence, a quota permit (except for EU 27/EEA on local employment). Depending on your nationality, there are two types of quota permits: L permits and B permits.
Quotas for Non-EU nationals
For the calendar year 2019, the Swiss Federal Council released a number of L (4,000) and B (4,500) permits for non-EU nationals, which were divided between the Cantons and the Federal Authority. In the last statistics report published by the State Secretariat for Migration, at the end of November 2019, the Swiss Federal Reserve still had available 646 B permits and 1,339 L permits (also including the previous year's reserve). The total remaining cantonal stock at the end of November 2019 amounted to 443 B permits and 463 L permits.
On 27 November 2019, the State Secretariat for Migration published the new quotas available for 2020. The Federal Council is keeping the maximum number of quotas for 2020 at the same level as 2019. Its decision considered the economic needs and the current utilisation of the 2019 quotas and was a result of the consultation that was undertaken with the cantons and social partners.
In 2020, Switzerland-based companies will have 4,500 B permits and 4,000 L permits for non-EU national employees at their disposal. These quotas are released annually.
Quotas for EU Nationals on assignment
The number of quotas released for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment in Switzerland is also the same as 2019. EU/EFTA nationals will have 3,000 L permits and 500 B Permits at their disposal. If we take a quick look at the last statistics published at the end of November 2019, there were still 310 B permits and 1,888 L permits available.
Quotas for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment will be released as usual on a quarterly basis.
Quotas for Croatian nationals
For Croatian citizens, the quotas apply to both L and B permits, as Croatia is not yet a full EU member state. In January 2019, the Federal Authority released a limited number of 953 L permits and 103 B permits for Croatian nationals. The quotas are released quarterly and apply to individuals on local employment contracts only. At the end of November 2019, there were no more B permits remaining and only 96 available L permits.
For the year 2020, Croatian nationals will have 133 B permits and 1,158 L permits at their disposal. Learn more about the entry and residence of Croatian nationals in Switzerland here.
Quotas for U.K. nationals
In line with its "mind-the-gap" strategy, the Federal Council has also set separate limits for U.K. nationals in the event of a no-deal Brexit. If the U.K. were to leave the EU without a deal next year, a total of 3,500 U.K. workers could be assimilated in the Swiss economy — 2,100 with residence permits (B) and 1,400 with short-term residence permits (L).
The separate quotas are intended to mitigate the economic and cantonal consequences of a possible abrupt change for British nationals, from those entitled to free movement to third-country nationals. The quota system only applies in the case of a no-deal Brexit. If the U.K. leaves the EU with a negotiated withdrawal agreement, the free movement agreement will continue to apply during the agreed transitional period between Switzerland and the U.K.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.