The Federal Council has announced and reconfirmed that the total number of work permits submitted to quotas for 2018 will be increased from 9,750 (in 2017) to 11,500 (in 2018). The decision follows political debate and aims to allow Switzerland to hire enough qualified workers and specialists from both the EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) market and the non-EU and non-EFTA market.

Non-EU/EFTA nationals

In order to provide the Swiss economy with the requisite amount of permits in 2018, the Federal Council decided to allocate 8,000 permits (4,500 L-permits and 3,500 B-permits) for highly qualified nationals. In 2017 7,500 permits (4,500 L-permits and 3,000 B-permits) were available for non-EU and non-EFTA nationals. Hence, the available number of permits for 2018 for non-EU and non-EFTA nationals has increased by 500 permits.

Service providers from EU/EFTA states

For 2018 the Federal Council is reserving 3,000 L-permits and 500 B-permits for service providers of EU/EFTA member countries. These quotas have increased by 1,250 permits. As the quotas were quickly and regularly exhausted, and considering Switzerland's economic interests, the Federal Council is in favour of increasing the maximum number of quotas to the same level as in 2014. The quarterly distribution of the quotas will remain the same.

In order to be eligible for these special permits, a worker must be seeking to provide services in Switzerland for more than 90 days or 120 days in a calendar year.

Croatian nationals

As of January 1 2017 Croatian nationals will have restricted access to the Swiss labour market. The principle of priority to local workers, right to work, salary conditions and quotas will still apply until December 31 2023. The quotas previewed for Croatian nationals in 2018 will be 748 L-permits and 78 B-permits.

Originally published by International Law Office, December 22 2017.

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