December 3, 2020

Switzerland’s Foreign National Employee Quotas for 2021

To help maintain economic stability and continuity, and ensure Swiss businesses can continue to recruit skilled workers and specialized talent from outside the EU, Switzerland’s Federal Council has opted to retain the same maximum quotas in place for 2020 for foreign employees from third national countries and service providers from EU member states or the European Free Trade Zone.

As the agreement between Switzerland and the U.K. for free movement of individuals will no longer exist from January 1, 2021, the Federal Council has also issued a separate provisional quota for U.K. nationals wishing to pursue employment in Switzerland.

In 2021, a total of 8,500 specialists coming from third tier countries could potentially be recruited, including up to 4,500 with a long-term B permit and 4,000 with a short-term L permit authorization.

For those service providers from EU member states or the European Free Trade Zone on assignment in Switzerland for over 90 or 120 days (subject to their specific conditions), 3,000 L permits and 500 B permits will be available and issued per trimester in 2021.

With regards to British national employees, the Federal Council has decided to grant a provisional maximum of 3,500 permits. 2,100 of these will be long-term B permits and 1,400 will be short-term L permits. The quotas for U.K. nationals are valid for one year only and will be issued by the cantons on a quarterly basis.

Until further notice to the contrary, permits granted to U.K. applicants will be processed by the cantonal authorities as opposed to the federal authorities. This is being implemented on a transitionary basis and is not necessarily going to be the permanent regulatory process going forward. If no alternative agreement is made regarding the future process for migration between Switzerland and the U.K. in 2021, the quotas designed for British nationals could be integrated into the overall figures allocated for third country national applicants from 2022 onwards.

For further information on the 2021 quotas for Switzerland, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

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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