PRESS RELEASE: Brexit: How will it affect UK nationals working in Switzerland?

With only five weeks to go until Britain leaves the European Union and with little evidence of a deal in sight, many countries are preparing for a No-deal Brexit. Sigma Management Services SA has received some clarity surrounding UK nationals coming to work in Switzerland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Once Britain exits the EU on March 29th, the current EU Free Movement of Persons Agreement (FMOPA) between Switzerland and Britain will cease to exist. From March 30th, Britain will be treated as a non-EU country. In anticipation of a no-deal Brexit, the Swiss government has announced that it will introduce a new quota system for UK nationals coming to work in Switzerland for the first time. Some 3,500 visas will be released for UK nationals, including 2,100 residence permits and 1,400 short-stay permits. The quota system will run from March 30th until December 31st this year. It is unknown at this stage how the visa quota system will work in 2020.

With this new announcement, Sigma Management Services SA advises any company who wishes to have UK workers in Switzerland before Brexit D-day must act fast. Speaking about the proposed changes Nick Broughton, Director said, “In order to avoid any delay post-Brexit, workers must have their permit organised before the beginning of March. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, permit quotas will apply and as a result any UK national looking to live and work in Switzerland is not guaranteed a permit.”

In addition, any company who wishes to place a worker may have difficultly towards the end of the year due to decreased permit availability. If a company has plans to place a worker in Switzerland this year, it is advisable to be organised as soon as possible.


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Lucy Peel
Lucy is our sales executive based in our office in Switzerland. She writes about employment related matters and contracting in Switzerland.