Switzerland | Changes to Hiring Requirement for Non-EU/EFTA Nationals

The Switzerland State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) will change the requirements to hire certain categories of non-EU/EFTA nationals from February 2023 onwards. 

  • In professional categories affected by a worker shortage (e.g., Managers, Engineers, ICT specialists), the competent authorities may refrain from demanding specific search efforts in the local labor market.
  • For professions with a shortage of skilled workers, permits may also be granted for positions that do not necessarily require a university degree (non-academic jobs).
Relaxation of Labor Market Search Work Permit Requirements

In certain worker shortages, the authorities responsible for reviewing work permit applications may refrain from demanding a labor market search. A company can fulfill the obligation to provide proof in an application by stating the shortage in the respective occupational category. In this case, the competent cantonal authority can assess that the domestic potential has been exhausted and that the priority principle is therefore given. 

The competent cantonal authority can demand special proof (e.g., advertisement of the vacant position at the RAV or in the EU/EFTA area, etc.).

Relaxation of Educational and Professional Requirements

Qualified persons with special professional knowledge or skills or indispensable skilled workers may be admitted to professions with a shortage of skilled workers. Permits may also be granted for positions that do not necessarily require a university degree (non-academic jobs), such as in the skilled trades or nursing specialties, or if the professional experience typically required is still lacking. Regarding the legal requirements, either at least a vocational training qualification or several years of professional experience, usually at least five years, is a prerequisite.

Facilitation of Change of Status to Self-Employment

Non-EU/EFTA nationals already residing in Switzerland on a B permit for employment are still required to obtain approval to change their status to self-employment. However, the guidance is for these applications to be reviewed with greater flexibility. 

For non-EU/EFTA nationals holding B permits which were granted with limitations with regard to initial professional mobility, such applications remain to be evaluated by the regular set of criteria, as before.

Erickson Insights

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to monitor developments and share updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.