Keywords: Brexit

In 2016 the United Kingdom decided that it wished to leave the European Union. This will also have consequences for Switzerland, since relations between Switzerland and the UK are primarily governed by the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU.

The UK is an important partner for Switzerland. While the UK remains in the EU, existing rules and agreements continue to apply in full for Swiss citizens. The Federal Council is keeping a close eye on the situation and wants to ensure that existing mutual rights and obligations continue to apply and are even expanded after Brexit (Mind the Gap strategy).

Safeguarding citizens’ rights

At its meeting on 19 December 2018, the Federal Council approved an agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) on citizens’ rights post Brexit. This agreement protects the rights of Swiss and UK nationals obtained in the UK and Switzerland respectively under the Agreement on the Free Movement of People (e.g. residency rights).

After the signing of the agreement in Bern on 25 February 2019, the Federal Council conducted consultation proceedings, which ran 29 May 2019.

On 6 December 2019, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on the agreement and submitted it to Parliament. The agreement will apply provisionally after the UK leaves the EU.


Temporary agreement to safeguard access to the labour market

At its meeting on 17 April, the Federal Council approved a temporary agreement with the United Kingdom on access to the Swiss labour market. The agreement will apply in the event of the UK’s disorderly departure from the EU. For a limited transition period, it would introduce simplified requirements for working in either country.

Separate quotas for UK nationals

At its meeting of 13 February 2019, the Federal Council agreed regulations on the admission of UK nationals to Switzerland in the case of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. As a result UK nationals will benefit from a special quota of 3,500 permits for 2019 allowing them to enter Switzerland for work after the UK leaves the EU.

The Federal Council approved the relevant revision of the Ordinance on Admission, Period of Stay and Employment (ASEO) at its meeting on 22 March. As the UK’s withdrawal has been postponed, the quotas will not apply for the time being as the provisions of the AFMP continue to apply. The quotas will apply if there is a disorderly Brexit at the end of the postponement.  

Further information


Further information regarding the agreement on the rights of citizens can be found here:

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