The UK and Switzerland have agreed three-year extension to the Services Mobility Agreement (SMA), enabling UK professionals to work in Switzerland for up to 90 days a year permit free. This deal allows employees to work in both states more easily and impacts a whole range of sectors and services. The deal, which has been in operation since the start of 2021, has had a transformative effect on companies’ ability to provide services in each other’s countries by allowing employees to easily work in both states.
As the UK services industry is understood to account for around 80% of the UK’s GDP and workforce, this is welcome news, just ahead of negotiations on a new trade deal between the two countries in 2023.
Switzerland is the UK’s sixth largest export market for services, worth over £12 billion in exports last year. ‘Other business services’, including accountancy, architectural, and legal services made up the majority of these, worth £6.5 billion, while financial services accounted for £1.9 billion.
It has been agreed that the SMA will be rolled over for a further three years, providing UK and Swiss companies with welcome certainty. The two countries have also agreed to launch negotiations next year on a new free trade agreement, with the aim of establishing long-term arrangements for services mobility and boost trade between the UK and Switzerland even further, in 2023.
Partner and Head of International Trade, Paul Browne commented: ‘This is a positive step for UK businesses given the potential opportunities for work across the services sector in Switzerland and will also, hopefully, inject momentum in FTA negotiations.’