For the time being, all the bilateral agreements that Switzerland has with the EU will continue to apply to the UK. The UK and the EU (and Switzerland respectively) are currently working on finalizing the details of an implementation period (see question 2). Only once the implementation period comes to an end could this situation change.
Until that time, Swiss citizens can continue to live and work in the UK in accordance with the terms of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the EU. This means, amongst others, that Swiss nationals do not need a work permit or any other document to work in the UK. Your passport or ID card is sufficient to prove that you are a Swiss citizen.
On 19 March 2018, the UK government and the EU reached an agreement on EU citizens’ rights after Brexit (see question 3). The British and Swiss authorities are discussing similar arrangements between the UK and Switzerland. Our shared guiding principle is to protect life broadly ‘as is’ for UK nationals in Switzerland and Swiss nationals in the UK before the end of the implementation period.
The different legal basis for movement between the EU and Switzerland – which is based on the EU-Swiss Free Movement of Persons Agreement (FMOPA) – means that there is a lot of technical detail to work through in order to take into account the differences in substance between the two legal frameworks (intra-EU and Swiss-EU related). Working through the implications of these for a UK-Swiss citizens' rights agreement has been a key focus of the talks.
In terms of scope, we are working towards an agreement which, like the UK-EU agreement, will cover rights including residence, frontier working, family reunification, social security coordination including aggregation of contributions, export of benefits, healthcare reimbursement and mutual recognition of qualifications. We plan to finalise the details of a political agreement over the coming months and move on to the legal drafting phase as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the UK government intends to set up a new process to enable EU citizens to apply for settled status. Subject to the ongoing discussions between Switzerland and the UK, it is expected that Swiss citizens looking to remain in the UK will also be asked to apply for this new ‘settled status’. If you would like to find out the latest information on citizens’ rights and the settled status, you can sign up to UK Home Office email updates here.
A checklist in preparation for the future settled status process can be found here.