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The Impact of BREXIT on UK Nationals in Switzerland

The latest information we have on BREXIT and how it might or might not impact UK citizens living in Switzerland 

The information below is provided without warranty:

28.02.2019:

Please note that the UK Government has also issued the following advice for UK Nationals who are resident in Switzerland with regards to driving licences:

"Holders of UK driving licences who are resident in Switzerland should exchange their UK licences for a Swiss driving licence before 29 March 2019. "

As there is a simple changeover process for EU licences to Swiss ones, it is much more advisable for UK drivers to do that change before March 29th in order to avoid having to retake any parts of the tests etc.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-switzerland#driving-in-switzerland

https://www.expatica.com/ch/living/transportation/exchanging-a-foreign-drivers-licence-in-switzerland-102892/

 

07.02.19

Following a recent UK Government reach-out event in Basel, the aim of which was to highlight the effects Brexit will have on UK citizens living in Switzerland, we have compiled a summary and listed the key points below:

- 5 bilateral agreements have been signed between the UK and the Swiss government to ensure continuity should the UK leave the EU without a deal on March 29th 2019 without agreement (a "no deal" scenario). These agreements cover Citizens Rights, Trade, Aviation, Land Transport and Insurance.

- With respect to Citizen’s Rights, the key points were:

-- Any rights that have been acquired by UK citizens through current residency are protected. In practice, this is linked mainly to the type of permit one is in possession of.

-- A UK citizen who is a C permit holder will continue to be a C permit holder – there will be no change.

-- A UK citizen who is a B permit holder will continue to be so but when applying for a C permit may have to go through a different procedure, i.e. application with accompanying proof of Cantonal language ability

-- The most vague area was with UK citizens living in France or Germany who work on G permits as the G permits are linked to the job (and therefore employer) and the individuals concerned are not Swiss residents and they will also be seen as Third Country nationals as far as the Swiss immigration system is concerned. What the French / German governments decide what to do with the local rights these people will have also seemed key to knowing how to move forward. Apparently, the French have made a decision, but the Germans have not.

-- It is also unclear what happens with L permits, but it is expected that an L permit can be renewed (as the rights have been acquired by the individual) but a step up to B permit may only be done via application to Berne via the quota system for third country applications. A firm outcome is still awaited.

-- Please note that none of this covers new UK migrants to Switzerland who move to Switzerland after the UK has left the EU. As it stands, new residence permits for UK Citizens will have to be applied for and obtained via a quota system. These quotas have been announced and will be 3,500 in total (2,100 B Permits, and 1,400 L Permits).

-- If the UK ratifies the withdrawal agreement, cancels or extends the Article 50, process for leaving the EU the above will *not* come into effect. The UK will benefit from all the agreements the EU has with other countries for the duration of the withdrawal agreement (expected to be Dec 2020).

-- Freelancers with umbrella companies registered in the UK are not affected and can continue to provide services. They can only be on-site in Switzerland however for 90 days in any 180 days. (Schengen rules)

 

For more information, you can follow these links:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-switzerland

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/swiss-citizens-rights-agreement

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