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Switzerland simplifies process of employing foreign workers

Companies will no longer have to prove there are no Swiss job candidates in some sectors.

Moves to cut red tape for non-EU foreign workers in Switzerland will not necessarily lead to more work visas being issued.

On Friday, the government announced measures to make it easier to hire skilled workers from such countries as India, Britain, China and the United States.

By making it simpler to award B and L work permits, Switzerland hopes that the “innovative power of the economy can be strengthened.”

Companies are usually obliged to prove that there are no Swiss people who could fill a position before it is offered to a candidate from abroad.

But the new rules sideline this requirement for industries that can prove that they struggle to recruit the best staff because there is a severe shortage of highly skilled workers.

Companies will also no longer have to prove that their desired candidate has a proscribed level of education before a permit can be issued.

A third change will make it easier for foreign workers to switch to self-employment after leaving a job.

Switzerland currently limits the annual number of B permits (up to five-year residency) to 4,500 a year and issues no more than 4,000 L permits (up to a year’s stay).

Some companies and cantons have in the past complained at the restrictions imposed by such quotas. But the government warns that a current review of the foreign worker process may not result in more visas being issued.

Last year, only 80% of available B permits were issued along with 73% of L permits that were on offer.


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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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