The Swiss Federal Council has agreed to permit Australian nationals to enter its territory visa-free for at kinds of purposes, including here work and long-term stays.
The decision has been announced by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration in a press release issued on Tuesday, November 16, which also recalled that the Federal Council had decided to amend the Ordinance on Entry and the Granting of Visas (EGVO) for this purpose on October 1 this year.
“Australian nationals will be allowed to enter Switzerland without a visa from January 1 2022. The relevant ordinance has been amended accordingly. From the same date, Swiss nationals will get access to the Australian Work and Holiday programme,” the press release notes.
It also explains that in spite of the exemption from the visa requirement, conditions of entry laid down in Swiss legislation and the Schengen regulations will remain effective for Australians, just like for the rest of travellers from third countries. This means that amongst others, Australians will need to prove they have the necessary financial means to support their stay in Switzerland.
At the same time, Australians who plan to stay for a period of more than three months, as well as those who intend to work in the country, must obtain a residence permit first from the competent authority in their intended place of residence or work before entering Switzerland.
Currently, Australian nationals can enter Switzerland visa-free only for short-term periods of 90 days in any 180-day period for purposes that do not include employment. However, those who wish to work in Switzerland, as well as those who want to stay longer in the country, have to apply for a visa first at the Swiss visa authorities in Australia.
“Switzerland issues between 500 and 800 visas to Australian nationals each year,” the State Secretariat for Migration notes.
In return for permitting its citizens to enter Switzerland visa-free for all types of purposes, starting from the same date, January 1, 2022, Australia will add Switzerland to the list of countries the nationals of which are eligible for the Australian Work and Holiday programme.
The latter permits youngsters aged 18 to 30 years old to work in the country while holidaying for a period of 12 months. Countries that already benefit from this programme are Argentina, Austria, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Peru, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
Switzerland’s decision on Australian visitors follows several others by the Federal Council regarding entry and employment into the country.
On October 22, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that Croatians will be permitted to work in Switzerland starting from January 1, 2022, under the same rights as the rest of the EU/EFTA nationals, after the Council decided to remove its market protection measures for Croatian nationals.
On October 27, on the other hand, the Federal Council announced that it was working to create legal perquisites for foreigners who have obtained a degree in areas with a shortage of skilled workers to stay and work in Switzerland.