The UK and Switzerland have reached a transitional migration agreement which would apply in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The agreement would allow UK workers to access the Swiss labour market and Swiss workers to access the UK labour market until December 2020.
In a no deal scenario, UK workers would be able to move to Switzerland in similar numbers as now until the end of 2020. Switzerland has already announced a specific quota of 3,500 work permits for 2019 which would be ring-fenced for UK workers.
Switzerland has also agreed that UK workers would not need to meet the rules relating to skill level, national preference and economic interest which normally apply to non-EEA nationals applying for work permits in Switzerland.
The UK has agreed to provide arrangements for Swiss nationals who wish to work in the UK which are at least as favourable as those offered to UK nationals in Switzerland. In the event of no deal, and following the ending of free movement, Swiss and EEA nationals arriving in the UK for the first time would be eligible for European temporary leave to remain. This would allow them to work in the UK for three years.
Both countries have also agreed protections for those frontier workers not covered by the UK-Swiss citizens’ rights agreement, which would allow them to continue cross-border work until 31 December 2020.
This agreement will be subject to ratification processes in both states, and will be signed and published in due course. The UK and Switzerland will continue to work closely together on implementing the agreement and will discuss the arrangements which will apply from the end of 2020 in due course.
Details of the Swiss government’s announcement on quotas can be found here.
The details of the UK’s European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme can be found here.