Another blog about Brexit
(which you should probably read if you’re a seasonal worker in Switzerland)
It’s been dominating the news headlines for the best part of two years, but the UK is now fast approaching the end of the two-year window we had to figure out our exit from the EU. In fact, it has been dragging on so long with so much debate and almost no outcome that there is a strong possibility that unless you’re particularly interested, you might have stopped paying attention all together.
But ‘Brexit’ as it has become known, might have a huge impact on those of us living in Switzerland.
We’re not yet sure what that impact might be, in fact, no one really is. But it has become clear that for Brits living and working in Switzerland, we probably do need to be paying attention.
So, here’s what we do know at the moment about the possible scenarios and impacts for those of us who are British living and working here in Switzerland, from someone who has vaguely been following the news for the last two years.
And it all starts this Tuesday.
Firstly, it’s important to note that even though Switzerland is not in the EU, we are working in Switzerland on the basis of our EU citizenship due to bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU, and as such our permits whether they be announces, L, B or C permits, are granted to us because we are EU citizens. Which we are in theory, about to cease to be.
The good news is that Switzerland has agreed with the UK that the rights for anyone living in Switzerland already will be protected, and the same protections will be afforded to the Swiss living in the UK. So if you’re a holder of a C permit or a B permit, you’re currently alright, even in the event of ‘no deal’. Until you have to renew your permit, but that’s for another day.
But unfortunately for seasonal workers, as soon as your current permit expires you essentially have forfeited this protection, and you are no longer a Swiss resident, and are subject to the new rules. Whatever they may be.
And unfortunately for those of us based in Swiss ski resorts, this applies to a lot of seasonal staff, including ski instructors.
So here’s the things you might need to keep an eye on to figure out how Brexit might be about to impact you, your staff, or your future plans to work in Switzerland.
On Tuesday 12 March 2019 (yep, really soon) parliament will vote on whether to accept Theresa May’s current Brexit deal. She is urging MPs to back to deal, because if they don’t, well the future is completely uncertain.
There are two outcomes on Tuesday; the deal is backed, in which case the UK leaves with a deal on 29th March 2019. Under the current ‘transition period’ agreement, the rights of UK citizens would remain the same until the end of December 2020, and then after that we have no idea what our rights will be to work in Switzerland. But there’s at least another 20 or so months to figure it out.
The second outcome on Tuesday is that the deal is rejected, which remains the more likely scenario, we are then thrown into another round of uncertainty.
Parliament will then vote on 13th March on whether they want to leave the EU with no deal, which in theory they also shouldn’t do as almost everyone agrees that this would not be a good thing, remainers and leavers alike.
However, it is a possibility and in the case that we do leave with no deal, the Swiss have come up with a back-up plan affectionately called ‘Mind the Gap’, in which 3500 permits will be available through the whole of Switzerland for Brits wanting to work here until December 2019, 2100 ‘B’ permits (year-round contracts only) and 1400 ‘L’ permits for those working shorter contracts. To put this figure into perspective, this likely wouldn’t even cover the number of L permits for Verbier alone and this is the number for the whole of Switzerland. From January 2020 onwards we have no figures for how many permits, if any, will be granted after that.
So, lets go down the likelihood route; the deal is rejected, and the vote the next day for leaving without a deal is rejected. Parliament then need to vote the next day (we’re now on the 14th March for those keeping track) on extending Article 50 a.k.a. delaying Brexit. If this fails – we leave on 29th March without a deal. See paragraph above for the implications of this.
If the vote to apply for an extension passes, Theresa May will then need to request said extension from the EU, who have previously said that this is a possibility (so we could be OK here)
And then, hopefully our rights within Switzerland will remain as they are for a bit longer, again probably until the end of 2020, while everyone does a bit more negotiating. And after that, yeah you guessed it, we just have to hope for the best again. Or get applying for that C permit.
Actually from here there are 7 options: another vote on the deal, a general election, another referendum, a renegotiation of the deal, a vote of no confidence in the PM, another option to leave with no deal, or no Brexit.
I know what I’m holding out for!
Written by a Verbier resident on an L permit who voted remain…