Francis Docherty
CEO Swiss Mobility Services, GMS, CRP, RES Forum Accredited, Geneva, Vaud, Valais, Zurich, Basel
The 14 February 2014 vote against « mass immigration » has impacted Switzerland in various ways and the negative economic effects are not necessarily visible to everyone. The first direct measure of the Feb 2014 vote was a reduction by 2000 units of work permit quotas in 2015 on a national basis for non-EU citizens.
The vote and quota reduction sent out some quite negative « messages » to numerous foreign companies that have set up their European HQ in Switzerland and this resulted in putting on hold relocation projects to Switzerland. Relocation companies, real estate and various service companies across the country have very visibly seen the reduction of transfers and therefore negatively impacted their business turnover. At Cantonal level, mainly in Geneva, Vaud, Zurich and Basel, the loss of additional tax related to these relocations that never happened is difficult to measure, but most Cantons talk about a « significant number ».
Perspectives for 2017
While 2016 has seen a stabilisation of incoming projects, there are new encouraging projects in the fields of medical american companies and the Federal Authorities have announced an increase by 1000 units for 2017. This can only be considered as good news but may not be sufficient for then entire year. As mentioned previously, Switzerland hosts a large number of European headquarters and they play their natural role of an HQ, with transfers for various reasons, such as training, learning, gaining experience. Should the hurdles in terms of immigration increase, Switzerland risks to see companies consider moving to other locations. Representatives of Singapore and Ireland, just to name these two countries, are actively « flirting » with the large multinationals based in Switzerland. The consequences of massive departures would generate an economic tsunami. Hoping this will never happen and the Swiss Authorities will find ways in facilitating the delivery of work permits for the skilled staff that are needed here, we strongly recommend that all companies give close consideration to their needs for 2017.
Swiss Mobility Services can facilitate this process and we invite you to contact us for a review and set-up of an action plan. Advanced planning and announcement of your needs in terms of work permits, will allow the Cantonal Immigration authorities to make foresee the needs on a Cantonal and national basis. We look forward to your call at 079 937 59 64.

Francis Docherty, CEO