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Work permits Non-EU foreign worker quotas unchanged for 2020

Work permit

The number of work permits issued for non-EU workers has been a source of contention in recent years.


Switzerland will issue 8,500 work visas to non-EU citizens next year – the same number as in 2019. The Swiss government also confirmed an earlier decision that 3,500 British workers will be welcomed in the event of a no-deal Brexit situation.

Next year Swiss companies will be able to draw on 4,500 B-permitsexternal link for so-called “third country” employees they mean to hire for at least one year. In addition, 4,000 L-permitsexternal link will be made available for short-term contracts lasting between three and 12 months.

Should Britain leave the European Union without negotiating a formal Brexit deal, Switzerland will provide 2,100 B-permits and 1,400 L-permits for British workers. This deal had already been announced earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the Swiss government also retained the same limits for EU and EFTA service providers operating in Switzerland. “In 2020, 3,000 units will be available for short stays (L) and 500 for [longer] stays (B),” read a statementexternal link.

The issue of limiting the number of non-EU workers has proved contentious in recent years. The annual number of permits was reduced to 6,500 following a 2014 referendum to curb the rate of immigration. This provoked protest from three cantons that are home to a large proportion of foreign firms.

The government responded by raising permit quotas back to their pre-referendum level of 8,500.

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