The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 (so-called Brexit). Until 31 December 2020, a transition period was in place. As of 1 January 2021, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) will no longer apply to the UK. Instead, the agreement between Switzerland and the UK on citizens’ rights as a result of the UK's withdrawal from the EU and the discontinuation of the AFMP (Citizens’ Rights Agreement) and the Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) will come into force. In detail the following:
Commencement of work with an employer in Switzerland:
Permits under the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA): If the employment in Switzerland starts after 31 December 2020, it is not possible for UK citizens to use the notification procedure. From 1 January 2021, the same admission requirements of the FNIA will apply to newly arrived workers from the UK as to all other third-country nationals (art. 18-24 and art. 26a FNIA). The applications need to be submitted by the Swiss employer to the Office of Economy and Labour in Basel-Stadt (AWA BS). However, the permits are not subject to the approval procedure of the Confederation, i.e. they are granted on basis of cantonal autonomy. The cantons issue permits for indispensable managers and specialists if an overall economic interest is given, subject to compliance with the personal requirements, priority and the terms of employment as well as the salary customary to the region, the professional and the particular sector. There are separate quotas. All additional information and the necessary forms are published here.
UK Service Providers (postings and self-employed service provision)
Notification procedure up to 90 days per calendar year: According to the SMA, the notification procedure continues to apply for postings of companies with their registered office in the UK and self-employed service providers for the admission of cross-border services from the UK up to 90 working days per calendar year. Third-country nationals employed in UK companies must have already been permanently admitted to the regular labour market in the UK, i.e. in possession of a residence card or permanent residence card for at least 12 months, before being posted to Switzerland and thus be admitted to the regular labour market in the UK. This applies until 31.12.2025.
Special case of self-employed service providers without UK nationality who are residential in the UK: Self-employed service providers who are EU/EFTA nationals and have their place of residence and registered office in the UK may only be confirmed in the notification procedure if their service provision began before 31 December 2020 and a written service contract was concluded before. This may be checked during a subsequent control. When registering, the date of the service contract must be entered in the comment section; otherwise, the notification will be refused. Services that take place after 1 January 2021 require a permit, which can be granted if the admission requirements of the FNIA are fulfilled. There is no legal claim to admission to the labour market.
Postings and self-employed provision of services for longer than 90 days: Assignments that exceed 90 working days per calendar year require a permit, which can be granted if the admission requirements of the FNIA are fulfilled. There is no legal claim to admission to the labour market.
Important Links regarding Brexit
FAQ Brexit (Source: SEM)