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Switzerland to relax certain entry restrictions from May 11

border post
Border controls will remain in place. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

The backlog of applications made by non-Swiss citizens to work or rejoin family in Switzerland will be processed from this date, the government announced on Wednesday. 

The plans will gradually ease the restrictions on entry into the country that were put in place in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Applications to work in Switzerland submitted before March 25 by citizens of the EU or EFTA Member States will be processed as of May 11. Family reunification will again be possible for family members of Swiss citizens as well as kin of EU or EFTA nationals living in Switzerland. 

Workers from third countries (non-EU or EFTA) who already have a permit to work in Switzerland but were unable to obtain a visa because of entry restrictions will be able to enter the country. Applications for employment of third-country nationals submitted before March 19 will also be processed. 

Cross-border work permits will be processed if they are based on a contract concluded in writing before March 25. For example, a fitter from Germany will be able to install a machine that has already been ordered by a Swiss company. 

Border controls will not be lifted, however. Additional border posts may be opened to avoid excessive waiting times. Travellers on flights from abroad will only be able to enter Switzerland at the airports of Zurich, Geneva and Basel. 

The government wants to minimise the negative effects of border restrictions on the Swiss economy, it said. The measures will be taken in close consultation with neighbouring countries. 

Entry restrictions

On March 25 the Swiss government extended entry restrictions to all Schengen and non-Schengen states. 

Only Swiss citizens, Swiss residents, those entering the country for professional reasons (e.g., those who work here and have a permit to prove it), and those transiting through, can enter. Even foreign partners of Swiss citizens, who do not have a right of residence in the country, will be turned away.

Next step 

All other entry and immigration restrictions will remain in force until further notice. However, the government has already decided on the next step. From June 8 onwards, all applications from nationals of EU or EFTA member states who are gainfully employed and actually able to work in Switzerland will be processed.  

This second stage will be carried out in consultation with the cantons and the trade unions. It will be accompanied by the reactivation of the obligation to advertise vacancies at local unemployment offices. 

Les Ripettes


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