The Cabinet of Switzerland agreed on 29 September to grant 500 more residence permits to individuals from outside the European Union in 2018. They agreed to increase the cap from 7,500 to 8,000, acceding to the demands of business leaders.
On the other hand, the number of B permits, which allow people to work in the Alpine country for five years and are extended automatically for five years as long as they still hold a job, will see its cap being raised to 3,500 from the current 3,000. But the number of short-term L permits external link, which is valid for up to one year, will remain unchanged at 4,500. Business captains had also urged the government to raise the number of L permits.
Moreover, cantons Zurich, Geneva and Basel City in August wanted a return to 2014 levels, when B and L permit levels were 3,500 and 5,000, respectively. After the voters accepted an initiative to limit immigration in February 2014, the caps were reduced to 2,500 for 2015 and 4,000 for 2016. Both categories were increased by 500 for 2017.
The cantons had warned that the situation had become critical because the B and L permits had never been consumed so quickly before. Basel City utilised its share for the year by 18 January, Zurich by the March ending and Geneva by 22 February.
Swissinfo.ch quoted a statement of the Basel City authorities lauding Cabinet’s decision added that as an economic and research destination Basel would have liked a further hike in the cap.
The Cabinet also expanded the ceiling for service providers from EFTA states of Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and EU for staying in Switzerland for more than three or four months. In 2018, the number of B Permits will be raised to 500 from 250 while the number of L Permits would return to 2014 levels of 3,000, up from the current 2,000.
These service providers’ caps apply to those for whom the Switzerland and the EU freedom of movement pact are not applicable.
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