The current Chairman of ICTswitzerland, Ruedi Noser, Member of the Council of States, and his designated successor, National Councillor Marcel Dobler, submitted two motions today. Ruedi Noser’s motion calls for the introduction of a start-up visa for foreigners who want to found a business and work in Switzerland. Marcel Dobler urges that foreign Masters and PhD graduates of cantonal universities or the Federal Institutes of Technology, with skills and expertise that are in demand, should be given the opportunity to work in Switzerland without bureaucratic or other obstructions being put in their way. ICTswitzerland endorses both these motions. They seek to promote Switzerland’s attractiveness as a location for research and investment and to make it possible to exploit the potential offered by highly qualified and skilled workers.
Switzerland owes its attractiveness as a location for research and investment to its first-rate institutions of higher education, the well-established cooperation between research institutions and industry and the favourable political conditions. However, quotas on work permits for citizens of other countries obstructs access by highly qualified experts and innovators who want to found and develop start-ups in Switzerland. This particularly impacts the Swiss digital sector, which offers more scope for development than its counterparts in the USA, India, Israel and China.
In his motion, Member of the Council of States Ruedi Noser urges the Federal Council to introduce a new category of work permit for foreigners seeking to start up a business in Switzerland or to invest in one that is being set up. He wants permits to be issued without excessive bureaucracy and under conditions that are as simple as possible in order to create incentives for innovative minds to come here. The minimum requirements might well be a workable business plan and access to sufficient risk capital. The first permit would be valid only for a limited period of time (e.g. two years), with extensions after the end of that period dependent on the holder’s continued business activity and on the success (or the prospects for success) of the enterprise. Persons issued with a start-up visa under such a simplified procedure would not be entitled to claim any social benefits.
National Councillor Marcel Dobler’s motion calls on the Federal Council, within the parameters of the Ordinance governing Admission, Residence and Gainful Employment (VZAE), to make it possible for foreigners with masters’ degrees or doctorates from Swiss universities and comparable institutions in areas in which there is a demonstrable shortage of skilled workers to be able to remain in Switzerland without difficulty and without having to go through bureaucratic procedures. Young specialists from other countries get an expensive education here, and the motion would ensure that they do not leave the country if they cannot be directly employed after their degree due to the relevant quota being full up.