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Switzerland sets work permit quotas for 2017: what employers need to know

Posted by on 8 November 2016

Immigration is a buzzing topic in Switzerland at the moment, and it can be hard to understand what changes are happening and how these changes may affect the ability of a company to employ foreign workers. Read more here about how this recent quota announcement can affect your business and how to plan proactively.

Froriep-Vacher-Duerig-Mathis-work-permit-quotas.jpgSwitzerland has used quotas as a tool to regulate the flow of various categories of foreign workers for a number of years. On October 12, 2016, the Swiss Federal Council decided in favor of a moderate increase in the maximum quota numbers for highly qualified workers from outside the EU/EFTA for 2017. Additionally, they decided that the quota numbers for service providers from EU/EFTA countries would remain at the same level for 2017 as it was this year.

In order to help you understand how these quotas may affect your business, we have created a short Q&A guide regarding the below questions:

  1. How do the quotas for 2017 compare to those available in 2016?
  2. When do the Swiss authorities need to "spend" one of the above quotas on a foreign worker?
  3. When are the above quotas released?
  4. I keep hearing that immigration in Switzerland is tightening. How does this announcement fit into the current political climate?
  5. What are some tips to companies for planning proacitvely with regard to quotas


If you liked this article you may also be interested in reading about Work permit options for EU Nationals on Assignment in Switzerland: Facts vs. Fiction, written by Daisy Vacher, Benjamin Dürig and Felix M.Mathis.

Photo: shutterstock/Aleksandr Ryzhov

Topics: Private Clients | Corporate & Commercial | Employment

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Benjamin Dürig

Benjamin is an experienced transaction lawyer with a focus on M&A and corporate finance transactions, and corporate law. Benjamin advises clients in M&A and corporate finance transactions and is an experienced team leader in complex transactions. He advises listed and non-listed entities, including regulated financial institutions. He has in-depth expertise on the legal issues relating to real estate in and outside of transactions, including regulatory aspects, environmental issues (polluted sites), and complex commercial lease agreements. Benjamin is a regular speaker to various audiences on topics relating to his practice, including international lawyers' conferences, commercial chambers and industry organisations. He joined our firm as an associate in 2009 and became counsel in 2017. Before that, he worked at a Zurich district court and a French-speaking law firm for a number of years. Benjamin’s law degree is from the University of Zurich (2003) and he was admitted to the Zurich Bar in 2007. He is a member of the Swiss Bar Association, the Zurich Bar Association, the Franco-Swiss Chamber for Trade and Industry, and of the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA). His working languages are German, French and English.

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Felix M. Mathis

Felix Mathis is a Zurich-based partner with a particular focus on corporate and commercial law as well as commercial litigation. Felix Mathis has been a partner at our Zurich office since 1995. He advises domestic and international clients on a broad range of industries, including aviation, pharmaceuticals, internet, construction and start-ups. He obtained his law degrees from the University of Zurich in 1980 and New York University (MCJ) in 1988. His working languages are German and English. Felix Mathis is a member of the Zurich Bar Association, the Swiss Bar Association and the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA).

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Daisy Vacher

Daisy Vacher's work focuses on matters of Swiss immigration and the procurement of work permits for companies wanting to employ foreign nationals in Switzerland. Before joining Froriep as an attorney, Daisy Vacher spent three years working for Fragomen Global Immigration Services in Zurich. Before that she was an associate attorney with Izaguirre Law in Colorado Springs, USA. In 2006 she completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Arizona followed by her Juris Doctor degree from the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver in 2011. Later that same year she was admitted to the Colorado Bar. She is a native English speaker and has a good command of German, Spanish, French and Italian.

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