Following the continuous shortages experienced over the previous two years, the Swiss Federal Council has announced that it will increase the 2017 quota of work permits available to highly-skilled foreign workers from outside the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) nations.
The Swiss Council dramatically reduced the number of work permits available to both EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA nationals in 2015. However, following continuous shortages throughout 2015 and 2016, and after appeals from several cantons to the Federal Council, the decision has been made to increase the 2017 quota for non-EU/EFTA nationals for the first time since the reduction in 2015.
The new 2017 quota levels for non-EU/EFTA nationals will be as follows, and equate to an increase of 500 permits on the 2016 quota levels:
- 4500 short-term L Permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals
- 3000 long-term B permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals
No changes will be made to the 2017 quota for EU/EFTA nationals, and will remain at the following numbers:
- 2000 short-term L Permits for EU/EFTA nationals
- 250 long-term B permits for EU/EFTA nationals
Although the new figures for non-EU/EFTA nationals are an increase on 2016″s levels, they are still 1000 permits short of that of the 2014 quota levels, before the 2015 reduction was enforced.
Despite the increase, it is still likely that Swiss cantons will continue to experience shortages in 2017, as the demand for foreign highly-skilled workers is great, particularly in Geneva and Zurich.
Employers would be advised to submit applications as early as possible in each quarter to ensure that their foreign workers are issued with permits.
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