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Pierre E. Page President TKS-Teknosoft Ltd

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The importance of temporary inflow of natural persons for the Swiss IT Market Joint WTO-World Bank symposium on the movement of natural persons (mode 4) under the GATS Geneva, April 11-12, 2002. Logistics/Administration/Powerpoint/Divers/WTO-12APRIL2002.ppt. Pierre E. Page

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The importance of temporary inflow of natural persons for the Swiss IT MarketJoint WTO-World Bank symposium on the movement of natural persons (mode 4) under the GATSGeneva, April 11-12, 2002

Logistics/Administration/Powerpoint/Divers/WTO-12APRIL2002.ppt

Pierre E. Page

President TKS-Teknosoft Ltd

1

switzerland an open country

Switzerland is a service economy

  • 3/4 of active population
    • 2/3 of GNP
Switzerland - an open country
  • Open
    • 19,7 % of foreign population at end 2001
    • Inflow of 150’000 asylum seekers (1997-2001)
    • 50% of GNP produced by exports
  • Economically strong
    • Size: 41’284 km2
    • Population (2001)

- Total: 7’204’000

- Active: 3’938’000

GNP2000: CHF 451,4 bios

2

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Switzerland - a net exporter of services

Service exports

1996-1999

CHF 46,5 billions

Service imports

1996-1999

CHF 20,7 billions

Swiss services trade surplus 1996-1999: CHF 25,8 billions

BUT…

The net outflow of scientists/researchers from Switzerland amounts to approximately 400 professionals per year

3

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From a service economy to an information society

  • 2/3 of Swiss GNP produced by services
  • IT manpower in Switzerland: 67’500 staff
  • Total IT manpower cost: CHF 4,9 billions/year (a)
  • Penetration of IT in Swiss Businesses
    • 70% of Swiss businesses use IT
    • 56% of all workplaces are equipped with IT resources
  • BUT…

(a) Source: Swiss Federal Statistic Office-Indicator of the swiss information society 1999

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From a service economy to an information society

  • Lack of qualified IT staff
    • Open positions : 10’500
  • Number of graduates per year in informatics
    • EPFL & ETHZ : 260 (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology)
    • HTL/ETS : 300 (Engineering schools)
  • Less than 5% of IT staff have an informatics university degree

Temporary inflow of IT Specialists is needed and welcome

5

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The GATS rules as applicable and applied in Switzerland

  • No hidden hurdles
    • Conditions are clear and known
    • Conditions match the agreement as signed by Switzerland
  • How to obtain a work permit?

1. Annual work permits quotas decided by federal government

2. Signed employment contract

3. Minimum salary and social security conditions

4. University degree

5. No change of job, profession and/or location (state) allowed

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The GATS rules as applicable and applied in Switzerland

  • Advantages of the GATS for the employee

1. Recruiting priority criteria have been suppressed

        • For Swiss manpower
        • For preferential recruiting areas

2. Appeal against administration’s decisions handled by a court and not by administrative authorities

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Overall work permit quotas for 2002

  • Up to 15 days for business promotion only = business visa
  • 120 days over one calendar year: no quota
  • Up to 4 consecutive months: no quota
  • Short term residence permit (up to 18 months) : 24’000
  • Year-round residence permit (up to 48 months) : 7’000
  • Rough estimates: 5000 work permits for IT staff granted

per year

  • Over last 5 years, quotas never exhausted
  • New regulations & quotas to be implemented for

Switzerland-EU bilateral agreements

8

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Procedure to obtain a work permit under GATS regulations

  • Switzerland being a federal state, work permit application originates with the cantons
    • Cantonal labour market authority
    • Cantonal alien police authority
  • The procedure is canton-dependent
  • Elapsed time to obtain a work permit: 4-8 weeks
  • The candidate cannot be in Switzerland during work permit procedure

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The GATS work permit procedure:

Room for improvement

  • Authorization for families
    • Currently: granted for 18/48-month work permit
    • Proposition: granted for 4/6-month work permit too
  • Regulations for work permit renewal
    • Currently: amazingly complex
    • Proposition: simplify and reduce « off-Switzerland »

period between 2 work permits

  • Business visa duration
    • Currently: 15 consecutive days, single entry
    • Proposition: up to 30 consecutive days, multiple entries

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Practical learnings from the application of GATS regulations for IT staff

Comply to the law and stick to the applicable procedure

There is a level playing field there !

  • The Swiss authorities can be reached and cooperate
  • No hidden hurdle
  • Work permit procedure generally reliable and fast
  • A few changes may improve the overall procedure

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