Switzerland: Government to Limit Long-Term Work Permits for Nationals of EU-8 Countries
Beginning May 1, 2012, approximately 2,000 long-term work permits – known as B-Permits – will be available to nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, and Slovakia each year, the Swiss Federal Council has announced. However, nationals of the EU-8 countries will not be subject to a quota on L-Permits, which are used for stays of up to one year.
The quota numbers will be released quarterly, with approximately 500 B-Permits available each quarter. This quota will apply nationwide, unlike Switzerland’s standard quotas, which are partly allocated to individual Swiss cantons. Work permit quotas apply to first-time applicants and those converting from an L-Permit to a B-Permit. Work permit extensions are not subject to the quotas.
Work permit applications from EU-8 nationals will require approval from both cantonal immigration authorities and cantonal labor market authorities. Previously only the cantonal immigration authority adjudicated these applications. EU-8 nationals must wait until their permit is approved to begin work. They will no longer be allowed to begin work while their permit application is pending. Permit approvals are expected to take approximately six weeks in most cases.
Due to the large influx of EU-8 works over the past few years, the Federal Council decided to invoke a provision of its treaty with the EU that allows Switzerland to reintroduce quotas for nationals of these countries through 2014. The Federal Council is expected to re-evaluate the quota and the new procedural changes next year.
This alert is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Global or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.