How will Brexit impact British cross-border workers in Switzerland?

How will Brexit impact British cross-border workers in Switzerland?
Well over 320,000 cross-border workers commute into Switzerland daily from neighbouring EU countries. Here’s how Brexit on January 31st, 2020 will impact you.

With Switzerland not being a member of the European Union, British workers in the country have taken Brexit with a little less concern than many of their neighbours. 

With Brexit becoming finalised on Friday, January 31st, there are however implications that must be considered – particularly for cross-border workers. 

If you work in Switzerland but live in a neighbouring country, here’s what you need to know about Brexit. 

If you live and work in Switzerland, we’ve prepared and published a guide for how Brexit is likely to impact you

READ: Five things you should know if you're a cross-border worker in Switzerland

G-Permit workers

Cross-border workers will usually be conferred a right to work in Switzerland pursuant to what is known as a G-Permit. There are 325,291 G-Permit holders at last count, with permit holders mostly working in Geneva, Ticino and Basel. 

As reported by The Local in November of 2019, France, Italy and Germany provide the most cross-border workers. 

“The largest number — 85,100 —people came to Geneva from France, 67,800 crossed the border from Italy to Ticino, while 33,700 came from Germany and France to Basel, as the city straddles French and German borders.”

G-Permits are generally valid for a year at a time and require holders to return to their homes outside Switzerland at least once per week. 


G-Permit workers after Brexit

The Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement, which comes in to replace the freedom of movement agreement after Brexit takes place, protects rights for UK citizens – including those of cross-border workers. 

Therefore, the rights of cross-border workers will be protected under the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement. If you are currently a British cross-border worker with a valid G-Permit, your rights will be preserved. 

Workers without a G-Permit?

UK workers who have not yet exercised their rights to work as a cross-border worker may exercise this right during the transition period, provided they satisfy three conditions. 

These workers must have a permanent right of residence in a neighbouring state; have had a place of residence in the neighbouring state for at least six months; and must work within Switzerland. 

A comprehensive list of Frequently Asked Questions is provided here

What about residency, health insurance and other rights in EU countries?

Obviously, a right to work in Switzerland will not in and of itself confer you with the right to live in a neighbouring country – which can lead to problems regarding residency permits as well as health insurance and other issues. 

This will of course depend on the country in which you live.

The following links from The Local’s sister sites in France, Italy and Germany cover rights of British workers to reside in these countries. 

READ: Brexit: What do Brits in Germany need to think about before January 31st?

READ: Brexit countdown: What do Brits in Italy need to do before January 31st?

READ: Brexit: What do Brits in France need to do before January 31st?

Furthermore, as discussed in this report, health insurance rights will depend both on your residency status and how your insurance is currently being covered.

Please discuss this and relevant issues with your health provider and employer. 

Notice: As with any form of advice piece featured on The Local Switzerland, it is a guide for our readers only and does not amount to legal advice. Always seek legal advice on matters relating to immigration rights.


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