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Switzerland has a quota system for certain types of permits. Quotas are per calendar year and distributed to the cantons according to economic necessity. The Federal Migration Office keeps further quotas on reserve.
The Long-Term (B) Permit, which is subject to the quota system, is usually approved for an indefinite period for local contracts, and for up to four years (exceptionally five years) for assignments. However, the permit card is issued in 12-month or 24-month increments. Note that if the B permit quota has been exhausted, the applicant may be issued with an L permit.
The Short-Term (L) Permit is issued for local contracts or assignments for up to one year (although this may be renewed up to a maximum stay of 24 months), and is subject to the quota system.
For stays of up to 4 months, the Visa Type D functions as a visa, work permit and residence permit, and is exempt from the quota system. The four-month permit cannot be extended beyond four months in a 12-month period without applying for a quota.
Assignees (or occasionally local hires) who will be working in Switzerland for 120 days or less in a twelve-month period (or, in some cantons, a calendar year) can apply for a 120-Day Work Permit, which is exempt from quotas. Note that this work must be done in blocks of not more than 90 days per six-month period.
For local contracts, a labour market test is required, unless the applicant is a senior manager, with salary of at least CHF 120,000 per annum transferring within the same group of companies to a management position in Switzerland.
For assignment, no labour market test is required. The applicant must generally have been employed by the sending company for a minimum of 12 months, and may also need to prove appropriate work experience.
Applicants who are employed outside Switzerland and who will be working in Switzerland for up to eight days over the course of one calendar year may not need to obtain work permits, but might need to obtain entry visas depending on their nationality. Note that the length of work permit exemption will depend on the location of the sending entity. The 8-Day Work Permit Exemption does not apply to the certain industries.
A 90-Day Notification without a work permit may be applicable to EU/EEA-national applicants (apart from Croatian nationals) who will be working in Switzerland as local hires, and any foreign nationals employed by a company headquartered in the EU or EFTA working in Switzerland on assignment, for more than eight days but less than 90 working days over the course of one calendar year. No quota is applied.
Employees who are locally hired in Switzerland and who are nationals and residents of an EU/EFTA country and who will be commuting to Switzerland from their home country or residence may apply for a Cross-Border Commuter Permit (G). This is issued by the canton without the need for an application to the Federal Migration Authorities and with no quota system. The G Permit holder must return to his/her country of residence at least once a week.
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