Switzerland has decided to extend the protection status S for Ukrainians and published the new list for the job posting requirement. Please find more details in this context as well regarding the additional immigration-related updates for 2024 in this blog.
The new year will bring a number of changes to the immigration legislation in Switzerland. KPMG Law provides you with a comprehensive overview of the new rules and some insights into upcoming EU and Schengen regulations.
1) Ukrainian nationals
In 2022, both the EU and Switzerland established protection regimes for Ukrainian refugees. The Swiss Federal Council recently decided to extend the protection status S for Ukrainian nationals until 4 March 2025. There are currently about 66,000 Ukrainians with status S in Switzerland.
The extension is contingent upon the ongoing risk in the Ukraine. Efforts are underway to double the employment rate of Ukrainian refugees to 40% by the end of 2024, with the Federal Council collaborating with various departments and partners.
Cantons will face stricter requirements for federal funding utilization, focusing on language support and individual assessments. The goal is to not only reduce social welfare expenses but also integrate refugees into society and preserve their skills.
In the EU, the temporary protection status for Ukrainian refugees is set to be extended until 2025, pending formal adoption, with all member states obliged to implement the extension into their legislation.
2) Job registration requirement
The list of occupations that are subject to registration is updated on an annual basis by the Federal Council. This list contains every occupation with an unemployment rate exceeding 5%. Swiss employers are required to register open positions of listed jobs with the local unemployment office and are not allowed to publicly advertise the open positions for five working days from the date of registration.
Considering the ongoing decline in unemployment, the job registration requirement for 2024 will encompass fewer occupation types. For example, certain occupation types, such as cleaning and auxiliary staff in offices, hotels and other establishments employing a total of 80,000 individuals, will no longer be subject to the job registration requirement. Additionally, within the catering industry, job openings for service staff will also no longer be subject to the job registration requirement in 2024.
The updated list of job openings that are subject to registration can be accessed using this link.
3) Elimination of discrimination in the context of family reunification
Efforts are underway to improve equal treatment in the reunification of foreign family members. As a result of various court rulings, family members of EU/EFTA nationals currently enjoy certain advantages over Swiss nationals’ relatives. By way of the new parliamentary initiative, this disparity should be eliminated and hence seeks to simplify the reunification process and ensure equal treatment of foreign family members of Swiss nationals.
To this end, a legislative amendment has been formulated.The proposed simplifications relate to the reunification of upward line relatives who receive support and downward line relatives aged 18 to 21 or who receive support. In these cases, it will no longer be necessary for them to possess a permanent residence permit from a state with which an agreement has been concluded. Additionally, the existing time limit for reunification will be lifted, and the obligation for family members to live together will be replaced with the requirement for suitable housing.
However, the issuance of a residence permit may be subject to the conclusion of an integration agreement, and proof of the financial means required for support will be necessary.
The proposal is currently before Parliament for a decision to be taken.