The quotas for work permits attributed to non-European citizens in 2017 have been now established by the Federal Council. Bern decided that Switzerland must be able to recruit high skilled workers from countries not necessarily part of the EU/EFTA to sustain the economic market and remain in accordance with the agreement on the free movement of persons coming from the EU/EFTA. Therefore, the Federal Council opted for a favourable answer towards increasing quotas for skilled workers.
Following the voting of the 9 February 2014, the Federal Council decided that it would be in the advantage of Swiss global economic interests to be able to deliver work permits for non-European skilled workers possessing technical expertise in a particular field. However, the priority in job attributions remains to Swiss citizens.
From 2017, Swiss industries will be able to recruit a total of 7500 experts on the non-European market. There will be 3000 B permits available and 4500 L permits (maximum 1 year stay). In 2015 and 2016, 2500 B permits and 4000 L permits were attributed.
The additional 1000 authorizations approved will remain in the Confederation reserve. They will be released on demand only, depending on the cantons’ needs. This reserve of permits allows a certain flexibility and to be able to adapt to the economic situation of the different cantons.
Concerning service providers coming from the EU/EFTA zone, the Federal Council also discussed a maximum number of permits for workers staying in the country longer than 90 or 120 days per year. Quotas will remain the same as 2016: 2000 L permits and 250 B permits attributed every three months.
This decision will be drafted by the Department of Justice and Police in order to be approved by the Federal Council.