Switzerland extends professional services deal with the UK
Switzerland and the UK have extended a deal that allows professionals special access to each other's markets until the end of 2025.
Under the deal, Swiss and British service providers are given easier access to each others' markets.
"The Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) maintains ease of access for service providers following the end of the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the UK with the latter’s withdrawal from the EU," said a statement from the economic department at the Swiss Federal Council.
The deal "regulates market access and temporary stay for service providers such as business consultants, IT experts and engineers", said the Council, adding that it "meets a need" in the Swiss economy.
The temporary agreement, which came into force on January 1st 2021, is to be extended until the end of 2025.
Under the deal, Switzerland grants UK professionals seeking to provide a service in Switzerland access for a maximum period of 90 days per calendar year.
According to the Swiss Federal Council, more than 4,000 British suppliers have used the 90-day market access option to provide services in the Swiss market since 2021.
The deal also gives Swiss exporters "preferential access" to the UK market in over 30 service sectors, according to the Swiss Federal Council.
In many sectors, service providers no longer need to prove they hold a university degree or have experience in order to be admitted to the UK market.
Meanwhile, some Swiss higher vocational education and training qualifications are now recognised by the UK as equivalent to a university degree. The UK has also simplified some of the procedures for obtaining a business visa.
According to the British government, Switzerland is the UK’s "sixth largest export market for services, worth over £12 billion in exports last year".
In a statement the UK government said the deal provided certainty for firms in both countries.
"Moving skilled people between countries is vital to services exports, facilitating the delivery of projects and face to face conversations that help to win new clients and get deals done," said the UK government in a statement.