The visa exemption will come into force on the day on the day that the current Swiss–EU bilateral agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP) ceases to apply in the case of Brexit, the Swiss government said in a statement.
At the same time, the UK has confirmed Swiss nationals will not be required to obtain a visa once the UK leaves the EU – both for short and longer stays in the UK.
The decision by the Swiss government to waive the visa requirement for UK nationals has been taken “in advance so as to be able to respond flexibly to developments in relations between the EU and the UK”, the Swiss executive said in its statement.
The Swiss move is in line with an expected EU move which would see UK nationals exempt from the requirement to obtain a visa to enter the Schengen area post-Brexit.
On Friday, the Swiss government also gave its final sign-off for changes to employment laws which will allow for a separate quota of permits for British citizens hoping to come and work in Switzerland after March 30th in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Under the scheme, a total of 3,500 ‘extra’ permits would be granted to UK citizens who are new to Switzerland for the period from March 30th to the end of this year.
The plan is necessary because in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the current bilateral Swiss–EU Agreement on the free movement of persons (AFMP) would cease to apply to British nationals.
Read also: An essential guide to Swiss work permits
That means UK citizens coming to take up work in Switzerland “for the first time” after the deadline would essentially be treated as third country nationals and would be subject to the same permit quotas.
Switzerland and the UK have already signed a number of key bilateral agreements designed to prevent disruption in relations between the two countries in the event of Brexit.