With Brexit, the United Kingdom exited the EU on 31st January 2020. The Brexit transition period, during which time the existing rules and responsibilities remained in force, ended on 31st December 2020. From January 2021, UK citizens may only access the Swiss labour market under certain conditions.
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In 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU. The withdrawal agreement came into force on 31st January 2020, ensuring an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. Brexit also has consequences for Switzerland, as relations between Switzerland and the UK were largely governed by the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the EU.
Transition period until the end of December 2020
In the withdrawal agreement, the UK and the EU agreed upon a transition period until 31st December 2020. Until the end of said transition period, the same rules applied for UK nationals as for citizens of EU member states.
This also meant that the AFMP between Switzerland and the EU was still valid for UK citizens until 31st December 2020, with the same rules in place as for EU/EFTA citizens.
Situation from January 2021
From January 2021, UK nationals wanting to work in Switzerland may no longer acquire AFMP rights and must adhere to the provisions for third-country nationals.
The Federal Council has decided to create separate quotas for UK citizens, set as follows for 2021: 2,100 residence permits and 1,400 short-stay permits Switzerland-wide.
Notification procedure for service providers
Switzerland and the United Kingdom signed an agreement on the mobility of service suppliers (Services Mobility Agreement, SMA) on 14th December 2020.
In accordance with said agreement, Switzerland will continue the notification procedure used to date for service providers from the United Kingdom for up to ninety days per calendar year.