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Old 27.05.2020, 12:43
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How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

I've seen a lot of questions the other way (EFTA nationals moving to the UK), but not many for UK citizens emigrating. I recently accepted a job offer with a company in Zurich, but it doesn't start until January 2021. If the Brexit transition period is extended, then great, but otherwise I have to assume I will be treated as non-EU. Let's also ignore potential complications surrounding COVID for now...

As a general question - how far in advance can one apply for the L/B permit once a job is agreed? I assume a permit has to be obtained before starting work, but I can't find any information on how early that can be.

I was hoping that I'd be able to move in late November/early December and apply for a permit while I'm still an EU citizen. Ideally with a contract in hand and enough money to tide me over to January, I wondered if I could get a B permit on the spot, as the contract is longer than a year?

Alternatively could I get a 3 month L permit on arrival (without gainful employment) and then convert it when the job starts? Obviously when applying for the permit I could provide evidence that I have a job lined up already.

I'm guessing the main challenge will be renting somewhere that's acceptable to the migration office.

As this is a local contract, I also assume no quotas apply here? [2] Britain left with a withdrawal agreement, so we're still covered under EU-27/EFTA local workers during the transition period. The doc above also says there are no job-seeking quotas either.

I will speak to immigration lawyers from the company at some point, and they may just say I should apply as a non-EU. Given the nature of the job and my background, I'm fairly confident that would be OK, but obviously getting an EU permit would be far far easier.

Guidance on residence without employment: https://www.sem.admin.ch/content/dam...staetige-e.pdf

EU references: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/themen/aufenthalt/eu_efta/ausweis_l_eu_efta.html

Brexit: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...rexit/faq.html (but this doesn't cover the edge case when you have a job offer that doesn't start until after the transition period ends)

Any advice would be welcome, thanks!
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Old 27.05.2020, 13:19
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

Welcome to the forum.

As an EU national you can be here for up to 3 months as a tourist without registering so could possibly sort out accommodation, etc, before applying. You would not get an L permit as these are for job seekers and still not available to EU nationals until the initial 3 month tourist period is over.

Alternatively, you may be able to come early with your contract in hand and enough funds to tide you over until you start work and apply for your permit when you arrive. Sufficient funds will be on the basis of CHF100 per day per person.

There's also this should the UK leave without an agreement.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...19-02-130.html
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Old 27.05.2020, 13:30
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

When is the start date of your contract? If on or before before 31 Dec 2020 you will be treated as EU.

You can submit a permit application as soon as you have a contract but keep in mind it will be processed/produced/printed on or after the start date that figures on your contract. In some cantons the practice for EUs is to issue Ls for 3 months and then a 5 year B assuming the hire is confirmed after the probation period (even if on an indefinite term contract).

Edit I can see your start date is not on or before 31 Dec 2020. As a non-EU this makes obtaining a permit much more complex that I don’t think anybody has visibility on at the moment. I would try and negotiate an earlier start date with your prospective employer.
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Old 27.05.2020, 13:39
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

You would be under a quota system assuming you can’t have your start date changed.

From the FAQ link you posted:

UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020 are not covered by the agreement on acquired citizens’ rights.

Unless an additional bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the UK is concluded, UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020 must meet the terms of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA). They would be subject to quotas in such a case.

Switzerland and the UK are conducting talks on a possible future immigration scheme. The exact form of the scheme has not yet been agreed. Any agreement on immigration after the AFMP ceases to apply must respect the terms of the Swiss Constitution (e.g. Art. 121a).

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...rexit/faq.html
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Old 27.05.2020, 14:01
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

And there I thought the answer would be "you don't, the employer must do that for you".
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Old 27.05.2020, 14:10
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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Welcome to the forum.

As an EU national you can be here for up to 3 months as a tourist without registering so could possibly sort out accommodation, etc, before applying. You would not get an L permit as these are for job seekers and still not available to EU nationals until the initial 3 month tourist period is over.

Alternatively, you may be able to come early with your contract in hand and enough funds to tide you over until you start work and apply for your permit when you arrive. Sufficient funds will be on the basis of CHF100 per day per person.

There's also this should the UK leave without an agreement.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...19-02-130.html

Thanks!



The problem with information on Brexit is that most of it predicated on what was agreed pre-transition (the majority of these articles are from early 2019). The concern was what would happen if we just crashed out with no plan. However, since we did agree a deal, as far as I can tell it's business as usual until the end of the year. The "mind the gap" proposal - which would have introduced quotas etc - never actually got implemented I think? But after that nobody seems to have a clue as the final legal position hasn't been fixed yet - all the Swiss government says is "we may work something out, but assume non-EU" (as qwertz points out). I imagine it's possible that they'll go for a middle ground solution as before, with British-specific permits; one suggestion was relaxing all the rules about advertising jobs to Switzerland/EU citizens, language/integration, etc.



The wording from the PDF I linked seems to suggest that one can apply for an L (and B) permit if you have the money regardless of whether you're coming for gainful employment or not. While I wouldn't be able to apply on the basis of job seeking, I believe I could apply on the basis of supporting myself? But this is perhaps something to ask the migration office directly.


The question there is, if I was granted a 3 month permit in December (say), would they be happy to just convert it in January, or would it cause problems that my effective citizenship changed in between. The Brexit FAQ seems to say it would be fine, but again something to ask the migration office.



Funding wouldn't be an issue for 3-4 months at the SKOS guideline rate, but obviously I don't really want to hemorrhage money if possible!



Quote:
I can see your start date is not on or before 31 Dec 2020. As a non-EU this makes obtaining a permit much more complex that I donít think anybody has visibility on at the moment. I would try and negotiate an earlier start date with your prospective employer.

Yeah unfortunately this is fixed and they've already pushed it back due to COVID. There may be some routes around this, but we'll see. For now I'm assuming it's fixed, and that worst case they'll do the paperwork.
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Old 27.05.2020, 14:19
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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You would be under a quota system assuming you canít have your start date changed.

From the FAQ link you posted:

UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020 are not covered by the agreement on acquired citizensí rights.

Unless an additional bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the UK is concluded, UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020 must meet the terms of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA). They would be subject to quotas in such a case.

Switzerland and the UK are conducting talks on a possible future immigration scheme. The exact form of the scheme has not yet been agreed. Any agreement on immigration after the AFMP ceases to apply must respect the terms of the Swiss Constitution (e.g. Art. 121a).

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...rexit/faq.html

This is why I was curious if there was some a way I could gain residency before the end of the year and effectively get grandfathered in as long as the permit overlapped with my start date:
UK nationals living in Switzerland who obtain a short- or long-stay residence permit before 31 December 2020 and are therefore registered in a commune do not generally need to take any action. The same applies to persons with an EU/EFTA cross-border commuter permit.
There is, however, a possibility that UK nationals with a valid residence permit may be informed that they need to exchange their current permit for another. This will not affect their existing right to remain, as long as they continue to meet the relevant residence requirements under the AFMP. If they are not informed that they need a different permit, they must simply apply for a new permit before their existing one expires, as usual. After 31 December 2020, UK nationals will be issued with a biometric residence permit.


But this would be a weird edge case without precedent (and I'm reluctant to bet the farm on it) - if you hold a valid residency permit and you then find a job before it expires, does it matter if you change from EU to non-EU?
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Old 27.05.2020, 14:22
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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As an EU national you can be here for up to 3 months as a tourist without registering so could possibly sort out accommodation, etc, before applying. You would not get an L permit as these are for job seekers and still not available to EU nationals until the initial 3 month tourist period is over.
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This is why I was curious if there was some a way I could gain residency before the end of the year and effectively get grandfathered in as long as the permit overlapped with my start date:

As Medea said, only after 3 months you can apply for/get an L permit to look for a job. Find a short term job to cover you until the end of the year?
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Old 27.05.2020, 14:53
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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As Medea said, only after 3 months you can apply for/get an L permit to look for a job. Find a short term job to cover you until the end of the year?

This may be a stupid question, but is this at discretion of the Kanton?


I couldn't see anything in the legislation that says you must wait until the 90 days is up.
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Old 27.05.2020, 15:04
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

One can stay for up to 90 days without a permit but if one *wishes* to stay for longer I thought you''re supposed to register within 14 days of arrival. I'd have thought you could move in December and initiate the registration. My B permit is dated from when I entered the country, not when I started work.
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Old 27.05.2020, 15:22
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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One can stay for up to 90 days without a permit but if one *wishes* to stay for longer I thought you''re supposed to register within 14 days of arrival. I'd have thought you could move in December and initiate the registration. My B permit is dated from when I entered the country, not when I started work.
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One can stay for up to 90 days without a permit but if one *wishes* to stay for longer I thought you''re supposed to register within 14 days of arrival. I'd have thought you could move in December and initiate the registration. My B permit is dated from when I entered the country, not when I started work.
Yes, obviously I'm not an immigration lawyer, but this is my interpretation of the legislation that I've read. If you want to stay longer, then you must get a permit - and in the majority of cases people use this system to get an extra 3 months of job hunting time. However, nowhere says a requirement that you must prove you entered Switzerland 90 days ago, and in any case surely everyone applies before their visa-free stay is up as a precaution? Surely it's the motivation to stay longer that would take precedence. I did see on the Geneva permit form that you have to say when you entered Geneva (not, not Switzerland), but what happens if you were touring around the country first? My guess is that's to catch people who've overstayed their 90 days.



Ignoring the weird Brexit edge cases - this was really the question I was getting at. Presumably most people who move to Switzerland from the EU register a few days before the contract starts and they're issued a permit on the day (from what I've read). Of course in most cases those people are well within their 90 days, so it doesn't really matter.


In fact the law is quite clear (I think?) - and certainly my contract is - that you must have a valid work permit in place before starting the job. In which case, how soon can you get that?
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Old 27.05.2020, 15:38
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

Speaking as an EU citizen, prior to any of the brexit mess...

I moved to CH one month before my contact started. I found an apartment 2 months before, but defered the entry date of the apartment to one month before. On the day that the landlord handed me the keys, I took the signed employment contract and apartment rental agreements to the local gemeinde and applied for the B permit.

This arrived at the apartment a week or two later, with the start date of the key-handover; or a full month before I started working.

That said, this was a permanent role - not a 1-year contract... so I got a 5-year B permit straight away.

As for brexit, I thought the Swiss government had already announced quotas for British citizens? Whether its a deal-or-no-deal brexit is irrelevant, Switzerland isn't part of the EU. So any deal between the UK and EU wouldn't affect Switzerland.

EDIT: don't forget that your health insurance will be backdated/charged to the entry date as welll...
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Old 27.05.2020, 15:49
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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Speaking as an EU citizen, prior to any of the brexit mess...

I moved to CH one month before my contact started. I found an apartment 2 months before, but defered the entry date of the apartment to one month before. On the day that the landlord handed me the keys, I took the signed employment contract and apartment rental agreements to the local gemeinde and applied for the B permit.

This arrived at the apartment a week or two later, with the start date of the key-handover; or a full month before I started working.

That said, this was a permanent role - not a 1-year contract... so I got a 5-year B permit straight away.

As for brexit, I thought the Swiss government had already announced quotas for British citizens? Whether its a deal-or-no-deal brexit is irrelevant, Switzerland isn't part of the EU. So any deal between the UK and EU wouldn't affect Switzerland.

EDIT: don't forget that your health insurance will be backdated/charged to the entry date as welll...

Thanks! My job is longer than a year (I think min 18 months). So that's encouraging.



They did announce quotas, but only in the event of a hard brexit, which we did not have - the agreements were drafted while we were negotiating the withdrawal agreement. As of right now, UK citizens are classed exactly the same as EU/EFTA and hence no quotas (with the exception of cross-border I think).


Official words:


In the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK, the two parties have agreed on a transitional phase lasting until 31 December 2020. This means that the UK will continue to have the status of an EU Member State until this date.

The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the EU thus continues to apply to UK nationals in Switzerland and Swiss nationals in the UK until 31 December 2020. During this transitional period, both UK and Swiss nationals will be able to acquire AFMP rights until 31 December 2020.

https://www.eda.admin.ch/missions/mi...es/brexit.html


https://www.eda.admin.ch/content/dam...-Brexit_en.pdf


The key stuff is here (emphasis mine)


In the area of migration, two temporary agreements
were concluded which would have applied in the
event of a disorderly withdrawal from the EU (no
deal). The agreements would have eased the admis-
sion requirements for citizens of one country wishing
to take up gainful employment in the other (agree-
ment on mutual access to the labour market) and
ensured that the rules on social security were main-
tained (social security agreement). As the existing
provisions of the Agreement on the Free Movement

of Persons (FMPA) will continue to apply to relations
between Switzerland and the UK for as long as the
transition period lasts, the two agreements will not
enter into force and will not be applied.

As to what happens after, who knows!
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Old 27.05.2020, 17:46
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

Quote:
From 1 January 2021 British citizens moving to Switzerland and registering with the authorities for a residence permit will in principle have to comply with the relevant Swiss legislation for third country nationals.
Source:
https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/u...rexit-faq.html

Quote:
10. What is the situation for UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020?
UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020 are not covered by the agreement on acquired citizens’ rights.

Unless an additional bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the UK is concluded, UK nationals wanting to move to Switzerland after 31 December 2020 must meet the terms of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA). They would be subject to quotas in such a case.

Switzerland and the UK are conducting talks on a possible future immigration scheme. The exact form of the scheme has not yet been agreed. Any agreement on immigration after the AFMP ceases to apply must respect the terms of the Swiss Constitution (e.g. Art. 121a).
Source: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...rexit/faq.html
There currently are quotas for third country nationations. Unless a specific UK/CH agreement is reached, we would become third country nationals.
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Old 27.05.2020, 20:08
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

Ah yes, but this is post-December. Up until then there are no quotas for permits for British citizens as far as I'm aware, hence why I'm wondering if I can be granted a permit whilst still in the EU.
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Old 28.05.2020, 06:45
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

I don't know why you are so stressed about this, the Swiss gov has allocated 2500 B permits exclusively to UK citizens and you are in good position to get one. As non EU (the rest of us more unfortunate than you) there's a quota of 4500 B permits for everyone in the world minus EU and it doesn't get exhausted every year; and we only get it after proving no one in the EU can do the job.
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Old 28.05.2020, 07:37
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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I don't know why you are so stressed about this, the Swiss gov has allocated 2500 B permits exclusively to UK citizens and you are in good position to get one. As non EU (the rest of us more unfortunate than you) there's a quota of 4500 B permits for everyone in the world minus EU and it doesn't get exhausted every year; and we only get it after proving no one in the EU can do the job.
The quota of 3'500 permits (2'100 B and 1'400 L) exclusive to UK citizens would have only applied in case of a disorderly withdrawal.

The situation now is that there is no quota until 31 Dec 2020. Starting 1 Jan 2021 UK citizens are treated as 3rd country nationals and fall under the global quota, so OP's dilemma is fully warranted.

Plus it is unlikely CH agrees to a separate free movement agreement with the UK as this is forbidden by the CH Constitution post the 2014 vote.
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Old 28.05.2020, 13:54
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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Yeah unfortunately this is fixed and they've already pushed it back due to COVID. There may be some routes around this, but we'll see. For now I'm assuming it's fixed, and that worst case they'll do the paperwork.
Did you try getting an earlier start with the first month or three unpaid? Kind of an early unpaid leave?

The advantage for you is obvious, for them it would increase flexibility assuming you'd be available from, like, December 1.

As a side note, you may want to make sure you're properly insured, especially for accidents.
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Old 29.05.2020, 00:42
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

I'm will ask about adjusting the dates, but I suspect the answer will be a no (for various reasons which I won't got into here). However I'll wait until I speak to immigration folks first.

Yes - on the insurance part. I'd be covered under EHIC/travel insurance until I get the permit. After that I could get state insurance, or wait to start at the company which would be within the 3 month window.

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I don't know why you are so stressed about this, the Swiss gov has allocated 2500 B permits exclusively to UK citizens and you are in good position to get one. As non EU (the rest of us more unfortunate than you) there's a quota of 4500 B permits for everyone in the world minus EU and it doesn't get exhausted every year; and we only get it after proving no one in the EU can do the job.
For now, there are no quota restrictions on UK citizens until January. Nor, right now, are there any agreements over UK specific quotas.

I ask partly out of pragmatism and partly curiosity. I find the legal background behind this fascinating and I've suddenly found myself reading a lot about migration law in Switzerland. It's entirely possible (despite Boris saying no) that the transition will be extended. At least by the 1st July we'll know if that route is open or closed.

Also I would argue there is some public interest. While I'm probably one of fairly few people to be in this particular situation now, as we near the end of the year there's no way I'll be the only one a job after the transition period (who has an offer before). I think it's reasonably likely that the CH government will release some kind of guidance on this nearer the time, because if we do need non-EU permits they will have to be applied for well in advance of the New Year. This would also be subject to any new agreements with the UK.

From a personal perspective, this requires forward planning if I decide to move early. I would need to be a bit more frugal with finances, think about when to release my current tenancy etc. Also when I do speak to immigration support, I'd like to be as informed as possible.

I have another interesting thought experiment about non-EU applications: if the job advert was directed towards Europeans and everyone they gave an offer to was, at the time of the ad, a Swiss or EFTA citizen, would that satisfy the criteria to get a work permit? I have absolutely no clue. I suspect we'd get away with it because there's no precedent; also that the job advert was very clear that non-EU citizens weren't able to apply. At the time the job was posted, the start date was in 2020 and then COVID threw a wrench in it, so there is probably an argument that the decision to hire was made on that basis.

However, I think my main question has been answered - can I turn up a month or two early with a job in hand and apply for residency? The answer seems to be yes. In fact the law says that you should apply for a permit at least 14 days before your current period is up (e.g. visa/visa-free stay):

https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a10
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Old 29.05.2020, 15:59
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Re: How early can one apply for a permit with an offer in hand?

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I'm will ask about adjusting the dates, but I suspect the answer will be a no (for various reasons which I won't got into here). However I'll wait until I speak to immigration folks first.

Yes - on the insurance part. I'd be covered under EHIC/travel insurance until I get the permit. After that I could get state insurance, or wait to start at the company which would be within the 3 month window.



For now, there are no quota restrictions on UK citizens until January. Nor, right now, are there any agreements over UK specific quotas.

I ask partly out of pragmatism and partly curiosity. I find the legal background behind this fascinating and I've suddenly found myself reading a lot about migration law in Switzerland. It's entirely possible (despite Boris saying no) that the transition will be extended. At least by the 1st July we'll know if that route is open or closed.

Also I would argue there is some public interest. While I'm probably one of fairly few people to be in this particular situation now, as we near the end of the year there's no way I'll be the only one a job after the transition period (who has an offer before). I think it's reasonably likely that the CH government will release some kind of guidance on this nearer the time, because if we do need non-EU permits they will have to be applied for well in advance of the New Year. This would also be subject to any new agreements with the UK.

From a personal perspective, this requires forward planning if I decide to move early. I would need to be a bit more frugal with finances, think about when to release my current tenancy etc. Also when I do speak to immigration support, I'd like to be as informed as possible.

I have another interesting thought experiment about non-EU applications: if the job advert was directed towards Europeans and everyone they gave an offer to was, at the time of the ad, a Swiss or EFTA citizen, would that satisfy the criteria to get a work permit? I have absolutely no clue. I suspect we'd get away with it because there's no precedent; also that the job advert was very clear that non-EU citizens weren't able to apply. At the time the job was posted, the start date was in 2020 and then COVID threw a wrench in it, so there is probably an argument that the decision to hire was made on that basis.

However, I think my main question has been answered - can I turn up a month or two early with a job in hand and apply for residency? The answer seems to be yes. In fact the law says that you should apply for a permit at least 14 days before your current period is up (e.g. visa/visa-free stay):

https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a10
I've seen with one of my clients, their HR has basically stopped accepting British candidates in preparation. They already treat them, unoficially, as non-EU...
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