Coronavirus: Workers from third countries to be permitted to enter Switzerland again
Bern, 24.06.2020 - Since 11 May various steps have been taken to relax restrictions on entry to Switzerland. In a further move, on 6 July the Federal Council will lift all corona-related restrictions on the admission of workers from third countries – i.e. non-EU or EFTA states. From 6 July, the cantons will also begin to process residence applications from third-country citizens who are not planning to work in Switzerland, such as people who have retired; the normal criteria will once again apply. However, third-country citizens are still not permitted to travel to Switzerland on holiday: entry for a stay of less than 90 days that does not normally require a permit will only be authorised in cases of special necessity.
Entry restrictions at the borders with all Schengen states were lifted on 15 June 2020. Since then the internal borders between Switzerland and the other Schengen states have been reopened and no controls are carried out. In addition, free movement of persons with all EU/EFTA states and the United Kingdom was fully reintroduced on 15 June.
Admission to work in the tourism or culture sectors again possible
In view of the latest developments in the pandemic, in its next step the Federal Council plans to lift restrictions on the admission of workers from third countries on 6 July, i.e. the usual quota system will apply from this date. This means, for example, that it will again be possible to come to Switzerland to work in the tourism or culture sectors, or to take education or training courses while working, e.g. as an au-pair, agricultural trainee or on a youth exchange programme.
Also on 6 July, restrictions will be lifted on stays of longer than 90 days for third-country citizens who are not in employment, such as pensioners. From this date, the cantons will again begin to process applications from these persons in accordance with the normal provisions on the admission of foreign nationals.
Depending on how the pandemic develops in individual third countries, it is still possible that health-related measures may be introduced at the borders under the Epidemics Act for any persons entering Switzerland from these states.
Full relaxation in line with the other Schengen states
Restrictions on entry continue to apply for third-country citizens who wish to come to Switzerland for a short stay of less than 90 days, e.g. for a holiday, for a short course, for medical treatment or for non-urgent business meetings. As is currently the case, such trips will only be permitted in cases of special necessity. If possible, Switzerland plans to lift these final entry restrictions at the same time as the other Schengen states. A gradual and coordinated approach to lifting the ban on entry is planned, in line with developments in the epidemiological situation in these third countries; for some states, restrictions may be lifted before 6 July. The EU Commission will regularly update a list of third countries to facilitate coordination. In consultation with the FDHA and the FDFA, the FDJP will adapt the entry regulations for Switzerland step by step.
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