Work permit restrictions will ease in 2009 for foreign students wishing to stay in Switzerland after completing their studies in the country.
Students from outside the European Union and the European Free Trade Association will now be able to apply for residency on an economic as well as the current academic basis, according to a decision announced by the cabinet on Friday.
Short-term residency permits will be given to university graduates working in essential research or in the application of new technologies.
The cabinet also fixed the number of highly skilled workers outside Europe being granted residency permits in Switzerland at the same levels as in 2008.
Four thousand permits that last for a year and 7,000 short-term permits will be issued to people from outside the EU and the EFTA.
Provisional limits were fixed for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals that will apply until February when the Swiss public votes on whether to extend a current bilateral labour treaty to the two countries. Both countries will have the right to 282 year-long and 1,006 short-term permits.