December 10, 2020

Swiss Federal Council Approves Agreement on Mobility of Service Suppliers Between the U.K. and Switzerland

The Federal Council of Switzerland approved a reciprocal agreement between Switzerland and the U.K. on the mobility of service suppliers, resolving the issue of market access for both once the free movement of persons between the two nations ceases on January 1, 2021. This agreement forms part of the Federal Council’s “mind the gap” strategy relating to the U.K.’s exit from the EU.

The Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) between Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is expected to be signed by both parties later this month and to be in place for two years. However, it may subsequently be mutually extended by the two countries. It will regulate the mutual access and temporary stay of service suppliers, typically including management consultants, IT experts or engineers.

Under the SMA, Switzerland will continue following the current notification procedure for service suppliers from the U.K. who are entering the country for up to 90 days per year. This will permit Swiss companies to continue using short-term services from U.K. companies and avoid any significant gap resulting from the changes imposed by Brexit.

From the U.K. perspective, the SMA will enable Swiss companies to continue enjoying market access to the U.K. for contract-based services and permit the continuance of the preferential treatment service suppliers currently benefit from, such as not being subject to any economic means test or need to provide evidence of English language capability. Furthermore, Swiss service suppliers are permitted to stay in the U.K. for up to 12 months in any two-year period.

Access to the U.K. for service suppliers is currently limited to those with university level qualifications or the equivalent. However, the U.K. will now be able to reassess the equivalence of Swiss vocational education and training qualifications under the new SMA.

For further information on the agreement between Switzerland and the U.K. for service suppliers, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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