• Adrian Tüscher, Partner |

Part 1 of this blog covers the quotas for workers from EU/EFTA and other countries as well as the safeguard clause applicable for Croatian citizens as of 1 January 2023.

As of 1 January 2023, several amendments regarding Swiss immigration law will come into effect. KPMG Law provides you with an overview of the latest decisions taken by the Swiss Federal Council.

1. Quotas 2023

The quotas for 2023 remain at same level as in 2022. Quotas will be applicable for the following groups of employees:

  • Non-EU citizens both on assignment and local hires (incl. UK and Croatian citizens)
  • EU/EFTA citizens on assignment

1.1. Quotas for non-EU/EFTA citizens

Swiss employers may continue to hire highly qualified employees with other than Swiss or EU/EFTA citizenship, provided the applicable strict legal requirements are met (among other criteria: Priority of Swiss/EU citizens, available quota etc.).

The Federal Council has decided to leave the quota for 2023 unchanged. i.e. for 2023, 8,500 permits are available, divided into:

  • 4,500 long-term permits (type B)
  • 4,000 short-term permits (type L)

The new quotas will be released on 1 January 2023.

1.2. Quotas for UK citizens

The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the UK is no longer applicable as a consequence of Brexit. Consequently, UK citizens are basically treated equally to non-EU/EFTA citizens and their admission to the Swiss labor market as assignees (for more than 90 days in a calendar year) or local hires is therefore subject to quotas. 

The Federal Council has released a quota of 3,500 permits, divided into: 

  • 2,100 long-term permits (type B)
  • 1,400 short-term permits (type L)

These quotas will be released on a quarterly basis starting 1 January 2023.

1.3. Quotas for Croatian citizens

As per 1 January 2023, access of Croatian workers to the Swiss labor market will again be restricted as the number of workers from Croatia has exceeded the thresholds set out in the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP). The Federal Council therefore decided to apply the safeguard clause provided for in the AFMP. In total 2,157 permits will be available for Croatian citizens in 2023 (provisional numbers – final figures to be confirmed at the end of the first quarter of 2023:

  • 1,150 long-term permits (type B)
  • 1,007 short-term permits (type L)

Whether the restriction will apply beyond 2023 (max. 5 years) is subject to the Swiss Federal Council’s decision. It is expected that such a decision will be taken in late 2023.

1.4. Quotas for assignees from EU/EFTA countries

Furthermore, the quotas for assignees from the EU/EFTA region remain unchanged. Hence, overall 3,500 permits will be available, divided into:

  • 3,000 for short-term permits (type L)
  • 500 long-term permits (type B)

These quotas will also be released on a quarterly basis. Due to the pandemic, the quotes were not fully utilized in 2020 and 2021. At the end of October 2022, the third-country quotas were exhausted by 75% (B) and 68% (L).

2. Safeguard clause to apply for Croatian citizens

As of 1 January 2023, the safeguard clause will come into effect in order to limit the number of Croatian citizens coming to Switzerland for work since the pre-agreed threshold has been exceeded. Croatian labor was in high demand especially in manufacturing and construction. Further, demand was particularly strong in the hospitality, trade and employment services. An increase in Croatian labor was also recorded in sectors with higher skill requirements, such as planning, consulting and IT services.

As a result, the thresholds set out in the AFMP has been exceeded. The Federal Council has therefore decided to apply the safeguard clause for all Croatian citizens coming to Switzerland. 

In accordance with the legal provisions, Switzerland will reintroduce quotas for B- and L-permits as of 1 January 2023 (see above). Hence, a Croatian citizen may (i) either apply for the Swiss work and residence permit based on a local employment contract after having entered Switzerland by registering with the local population office or (ii) file an application including all relevant documents (i.e. copy of valid passport or ID, copy of Swiss employment contract) with the cantonal migration office which is competent for the future Swiss residence prior to entering Switzerland. In the latter case, the authority will – provided a quota is available – issue a decree (in German: “Zusicherung der Aufenthaltsbewilligung”) based on which the individual may register with the local population office within 14 days after having entered Switzerland, but in any case before taking up work in Switzerland. The second option (i.e. filing an application before entering Switzerland) will ensure the individual as well as the future employer that a quota will be available and that a Swiss work and residence permit may be issued accordingly. Whether the restriction will apply beyond 2023 (max. 5 years) is subject to the Swiss Federal Council’s decision. It is expected that this decision will be taken in late 2023.

The KPMG immigration team will make sure to share any future immigration-related changes on the different media channels (Flash Alerts, Social Media, Client Mailing). In case you have a general query or even a specific case, do not hesitate to contact your immigration experts at KPMG.

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