News and current developments on work and residence permits
European Travel Information and Authorisation System
Currently, citizens of 61 countries that are not members of the EU are allowed to enter the Schengen area visa-free for business or tourism purposes for up to 90 days. To make travel within the Schengen borders safer, the EU Commission has proposed a fully electronic system – the European Travel Information and Authorisation System or “ETIAS” -- as a solution. The introduction of ETIAS is planned for 2023.
Even though Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it is a member of the Schengen zone, and it is expected to implement ETIAS once the system enters into force.
ETIAS will allow entry into the Schengen area and at the same time it will register visitors from countries that are allowed to enter without a visa (comparable to the U.S.ESTA system). Applicants will undergo a security check.
Citizens of countries that still require a Schengen visa to enter the country do not need to register with ETIAS. In principle, registration with ETIAS will not replace a visa for citizens requiring a visa, under any circumstances.
The introduction of ETIAS is meant to address security concerns related to terrorism and refugee crises, which require safer border management.
Protection status S extended
In early November 2022, the Swiss Federal Council extended the protection status S for Ukrainian citizens until March 2024, due to the unstable situation in Ukraine. Support measures will also be extended by one year to March 2024. The Swiss Confederation contributes CHF 3000 per person per year to these measures, which are paid out to the cantons in stages. The additional amount is intended to promote language learning so that refugees from Ukraine can take up employment.
The protective permit S was designed to be return-oriented. When the extreme and general danger in Ukraine no longer exists, the protective status will be lifted and a return to the country of origin is planned.
Quota for Croatian nationals
The Swiss Federal Council announced on 16 November that it will curtail the number of Croatian nationals entering Switzerland.
Since 1 January 2022, Croatian citizens have enjoyed full freedom of movement. The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons stipulates that Switzerland may unilaterally reintroduce permit quotas for a limited period if immigration from Croatia exceeds a certain threshold. This threshold was exceeded, as the number of permits issued in 2022 was more than 10% above the average for the previous three years.
Switzerland will reintroduce quotas for B and L permits as of 1 January 2023. For calendar year 2023, 1150 new B permits and 1007 L permits will be available for Croatian citizens.