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Foreign talent Quota for permits meant for non-EU workers exhausted

Around 2,500 such work permits are available each year for non-EU citizens


The Swiss government has confirmed that the federal quota for temporary residence permits for workers outside the European Union region has been reached this month. Swiss cantons such as Geneva, Zurich, Vaud and Basel City have already used up their quotas. 

In response to a parliament questions, the Swiss cabinet confirmed that the federal quota for the ‘B’ permit, which grants temporary residency to non-EU workers, was reached on September 13. A total of 2,500 such permits were allocated for 2016, half of which go to the 26 Swiss cantons to distribute as they wish. The other half is kept in reserve by the federal government and distributed among the cantons on a quarterly basis and it is this reserve that has been used up for the entire year. 

This has put cantons that are heavily dependent on foreign workers in a bind. Geneva, Zurich, Vaud and Basel City cantons have already used up their annual quotas of B permits for non-EU workers and cannot ask the federal government for any more. 

However, the federal quota of short term ‘L’ resident permits reserved for non-EU citizens wanting to work between three to 12 months in the country has not been used up yet. 

For the year 2016, Swiss companies were allowed to recruit up to 6,500 workers from outside the EU zone. Of this 2,500 are B permits and 4,000 are L permits. 

For more information on work permits, visit our work permits page. and agencies

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