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On 25 November 2020, the Federal Council passed the necessary partial revision of the Ordinance on Admission, Residence and Employment (VZAE). The quotas for employees from third countries and service providers from the EU / EFTA will remain unchanged from the 2020 level. However, because the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the United Kingdom will no longer apply, the Federal Council has also temporarily set a separate quota for employed UK citizens for 2021.

Quotas for UK Nationals in 2021

As a result of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the UK will no longer apply from January 1, 2021. So that companies in Switzerland can also recruit skilled workers from the UK in the coming year, the Federal Council has decided the following for one year. In the coming year, up to 3500 workers can be recruited from the United Kingdom: 2100 with residence permits (B) and 1400 with short-term residence permits (L). This ensures the necessary flexibility for the Swiss economy.

These maximum numbers for the UK initially apply for one year and are released to the cantons on a quarterly basis. For the time being, permits for British citizens are not subject to the approval procedure of the federal government and are therefore granted exclusively by the cantons. This measure takes into account the extraordinary situation in relation to the United Kingdom and represents a one-year interim solution and is not a prejudice for future regulations. If no agreement can be reached on a future migration regime in the course of next year, the separate UK quotas for 2022 can be integrated into the third country quota.

Note that UK nationals already resident in Switzerland before the end of 2020 will be treated indefinitely the same way as they are now: as long as they do not cease Swiss residence, they will be treated as if they are EU citizens and will not come under the above quota system.

Quotas for service providers from the EU / EFTA

This applies mostly to those being posted from outside Switzerland, for example on the EU A1 form. The maximum numbers for service providers from EU/EFTA countries with a deployment duration of more than 90 or 120 days per year remain unchanged. In 2021, 3000 units will be available for short-term residents (L) and 500 units for residents (B). Once these quotas are used up, EU/EFTA nationals can still come to Switzerland and work via a Swiss payroll provider like Accurity and be leased to the foreign service provider (or the managing client), as is currently the case.


As Switzerland’s preferred payroll provider, Accurity GmbH has over 20 years’ experience providing contractors, freelancers, agencies and employers with the best advice about their payroll, pensions and social security and ensuring they make the right decisions. If you would like to speak with one of our team of experts, simply contact us now.