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SWITZERLAND – Quotas for Work Permits in 2016 Announced

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The Swiss government has announced the quotas for highly qualified workers from non-European Union/European Free Trade Agreement countries, as well as for assignees from EU/EFTA countries. The quotas announced are the same as those for 2015.

Which Work Permits are affected?

The quotas are imposed on a national, rather than per-company, basis, on B permits, which are long term residence permits, valid for up to five years, and renewable. Once the B permit quotas are reached, applicants are issued with L permits instead – valid for up to 12 months and convertible into a B permit after two years.

2016 Quotas for Non-EU/EFTA Nationals

In 2016 companies in Switzerland can recruit foreign national specialists from non-EU/EFTA countries up to the following national quotas:

  • 4000 L permits;
  • 2500 B permits.

As in previous years, half of the quota will be allocated to the cantons, with the other half kept as a Federal Reserve.

2016 Quotas for EU/EFTA National Assignees

The quotas for assignees from EU/EFTA countries to Switzerland for more than 90 and for more than 120 days have also remained the same as for 2015:

  • 2000 L permits;
  • 250 B permits.

These quotas will be allocated to the cantons on a quarterly basis, as before.

Action Items

  • Note the quotas for 2016 and expect a continuation of the strict qualifying criteria seen in 2015;
  • Plan, as always, to submit work permit applications in good time to avoid issues.