As nations across Europe, including the UK, clampdown on the number of non-EU workers entering their countries and Donald Trump in the US promises even tougher immigration controls, Switzerland has announced that it will issue an extra 1,000 work permits to immigrants from outside of the European Union. From 2017, the Swiss government will make 7,500 B and L permits available to non-EU workers.
The announcement comes as a welcome relief for businesses that rely on specialist foreign staff following concerns of a growing work permit shortage. In August 2016, cantonal authorities in Geneva issued a letter to Simonetta Sommaruga, Switzerland’s Justice Minister, to say that they were ‘extremely worried’ about being unable to offer work permits to “highly qualified non-European specialists.”
As recently as 2014, the Swiss government granted a total of 8,500 (B and L) permits to non-EU workers. However, 12 months later, the number dropped to 6,500 after new anti-immigration rules were agreed in February 2014.
In 2015, Geneva managed to top up the work permit quota for its territory with unused permits from 2014, which they held in a federal reserve. However, by August 2016, the territory’s own quota and that of the federal reserve had been exhausted.
As a result, Geneva and a number of other cities in Switzerland home to a number of international companies feared that the work permit shortage might mean that some overseas companies might move out of Switzerland.
André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe. He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU. “Put simply, I am here to help you meet your challenges. I believe in the importance of doing things correctly, meaning risks are reduced and problems are avoided.”