Switzerland and UK have already signed an agreement securing existing citizens’ rights to residency post-Brexit, but the new agreement safeguards the future access of new Swiss workers to the UK labour market and guarantees the interests of Swiss companies wanting to hire new British workers.
The agreement will only apply should Britain leave the EU without a deal and is temporary, applicable until the end of 2020 only. If the UK does secure a deal, the current agreement on free movement will continue to apply, said the statement.
In March Switzerland confirmed that UK nationals will not require a visa to enter the country post-Brexit, even for lengthy stays.
The alpine country also created a separate quotas of permits for British citizens hoping to work in Switzerland after the end of March 2019, the original deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU.
During her visit to the UK capital this week Keller-Sutter also signed a declaration stating the two countries’ intention to collaborate on fighting terrorism and crime after Britain leaves the EU.
The memorandum of understanding aims to reinforce police cooperation between Switzerland and the UK, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.
The agreement will become particularly important should Britain leave the European Union without a deal, since in that case all information from British security services would be deleted from key EU databases, which Switzerland has access to as part of its bilateral arrangements with the bloc.
In a statement, the Swiss federal department of justice and police said the two countries “want to reinforce their already good cooperation on police matters” and “have reaffirmed their intention to work together even more closely in the future, especially in cases of organised crime and terrorism”.
The new declaration is part of Switzerland’s strategy of bilateral police cooperation with other European partners. To date the country has signed agreements with 16 European countries.