July 16, 2013

Pro-Link GLOBAL has received information today from the Swiss authorities that quotas for EU17/EFTA nationals in the canton of Schaffhausen are closed until the end of this year.  The canton will not issue any more approvals until 2011 for EU17/EFTA nationals on long term (longer than four months) assignment to Switzerland.

Who Is Affected?

EU17 and EFTA nationals on long term assignment to Schaffhausen are affected.  EU17 is the term used to refer to “old” European Union (EU) countries; i.e. countries which were members of the EU before 2004.  EFTA refers to the European Free Trade Association.  These countries are as follows:

  • EU 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, UK
  • EFTA countries: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway

All companies in the canton of Schaffhausen wishing to bring EU17/EFTA nationals to Switzerland on long term assignment are affected by this decision. 

Who is Not Affected? 

  • Other cantons have so far kept quotas open and are unaffected;
  • EU8 nationals (Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Slovak Republic) are unaffected as they are subject to a different quota;
  • EU2 nationals (Bulgaria and Romania) are unaffected as they are subject to a different quota;
  • EU17/EFTA nationals on local contract are unaffected, as these employees benefit from the agreement of Free Movement between the EU and Switzerland;
  • EU17/EFTA nationals on short term assignment (less than 4 months) are unaffected as these are not subject to the quota system;
  • Non EU/EFTA nationals (third country nationals) are unaffected. 

Implications for Non EU/EFTA Nationals 

EU17 and EFTA nationals on assignment come under the same quota as non EU/EFTA nationals; therefore it is reasonable to assume that there are very few places left on the quota in the canton of Schaffhausen.  The cantonal authorities have decided to reserve the few remaining places for non EU/EFTA nationals, since EU17/EFTA nationals can benefit from EU Freedom of Movement arrangements by moving to local contract. 

When does the Quota Reopen? 

The quota will reopen at the beginning of 2011.  Until that time, it will not be possible to obtain work permit approval for EU17/EFTA nationals on assignments longer than four months to the canton of Schaffhausen. 


  • Employers in the canton of Schaffhausen wishing to bring in employees from EU17/EFTA countries will only be able to do this if those employees are on local contract, or if they will be on assignment for four months or less.
  • Employers in the canton of Schaffhausen should note that the quota for non-EU/EFTA nationals is running low; Pro-Link GLOBAL strongly advises our clients to notify us immediately if you are aware of any upcoming moves to Schaffhausen, as applications should be made without any delay.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.

Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with pur PLG|KGNM correspondent office in ISwitzerland to provide this Global BRIEF alert to you.