Immigration statistics: A look back at 2020
| Jehona Islami | Konstantin Schmid

Immigration statistics: A look back at 2020

We take a look back at immigration in Switzerland in 2020

At the end of 2020, the Swiss Federal Council announced new quotas valid as of 1 January 2021: 4,500 B and 4,000 L permit quotas are available for third-country nationals in 2021—the same as in the previous year. The quotas for EU-26/EFTA citizens also remain at 500 B and 3,000 L permits for 2021. Those for Croatian nationals stood at 133 B permits and 1,158 L permits in 2020 and will be 250 B permits and 2,000 L permits in 2021. Since 1 January 2021, there are also separate quotas for nationals of the United Kingdom. These amount to 1,400 L and 2,100 B permits. This blog gives a brief review of how the quotas were used in 2020 as well as the current status.

Fewer quotas for third-country nationals used in Q2

By the end of December 2020, 2,413 of the 4,000 L permit quotas had been issued to third-country nationals. On average, this equated to 201 per month, with slightly fewer being granted in the second quarter (211 between April and June 2020). The same trend emerged for B permits for third-country nationals, of which only 3,080 of the 4,500 available permits had been issued by the end of December 2020. On average, 256 B permits were issued per month, but only 447 in total during the period between April and June 2020. Thus, noticeably fewer permits were issued to third-country nationals in 2020, which may be explained primarily by the interruption in the issuance of work permits by the Swiss authorities due to COVID-19 measures between 19 March and 15 June 2020 (see our blog post on the development of Swiss immigration regulations in 2020 in the context of COVID-19).

At the end of 2020, 2,035 B and 2,680 L permits for third-country nationals remained in the federal reserve, including unused quota permits from previous years. The cantons still had 188 B and 425 L permit quotas available, making 2020 the year with the highest surplus of quota permits for third-country nationals.

EU-26/EFTA nationals similar to previous year

A similar picture emerges for EU-26/EFTA nationals in terms of total L permit quotas used: A total of 1,877 of the 3,000 L and 261 of the 500 B quota permits, respectively, were allocated to EU-26/EFTA nationals, an average of 156 L and 22 B permits per month. It is interesting to note here that only in the fourth quarter of 2020 were below-average numbers of L permits issued, while in the case of B permits, there was only a small phase of below-average use in April and May. Both the L and B permit quotas for EU-26/EFTA nationals were allocated noticeably less in December 2020, which may indicate seasonal fluctuations.

At the end of the year, the remaining cantonal stocks stood at 519 B and 2,867 L quota permits for EU-26/EFTA nationals, including the previous year's reserves.

Croatian quotas almost completely exhausted

Quotas for B permits for Croatian nationals were completely used up in 2020, and those for L permits almost completely used — only 191 of the 1,158 L permits released quarterly remained unused. These will not be carried over into the following year.

Situation for 2021

With respect to the current year, data is currently available on the use of quotas until the end of April 2021. If we take a look at the quotas for third-country nationals, there are currently 3,087 L permits and 3,467 B permits still available. In addition, there are also those from the previous year's reserve.

With respect to EU-26/EFTA nationals and their quotas, 2,526 L permits and 405 B permits were still available as of 1 May 2021. Here, too, the stocks from the previous year's reserve have been added.

There are also many quota permits for Croatian nationals remaining, at least with regard to the L permits: At the end of April, 1,710 L and 126 B permit quotas were still available.

The situation is similar for the quotas for nationals of the United Kingdom: as of 1 May 2021, 1,344 of the total 1,400 L permits and 1,930 of the total 2,100 B permits were still available.

Need to know more?

For further information please contact Konstantin Schmid at [email protected] or your Fragomen immigration professional.

This blog was published on 15 July 2021, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 site, subscribe to our alerts and follow us on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram