REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL (ABOUT PERMITS)
UK AND SWITZERLAND START TALKS.
SO IS A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IN THE PIPELINE?
The UK and Switzerland look like they are going to begin a new trade deal – and it could be great news for British ski instructors.
(Of course, it’s already dead easy to work in Switzerland on an EU passport – so if you have an EU passport the following doesn’t apply to you, click here for more…).
The Swiss President, Ignazio Cassis, met UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss closer unity in the future.
Now, Free Trade isn’t specifically an issue for you if you want to be a ski instructor, but wrapped up in this deal will be agreements on mobility of workers.
And means (potentially) work permits.
WHY DO WE NEED A NEW DEAL?
There was always (and still is) an agreement on the mobility of workers between the EU and Switzerland.
For years that agreement facilitated ski instructors working in Switzerland – especially useful after doing a Peak Leaders course.
But when the UK left the EU, there was nothing to replace the deal – British ski instructors fell into a vacuum and couldn’t get work permits.
Essentially, once the UK became a Third Nation – a non-EU nation – a British Ski Instructor could only be employed if the ski school could show they had a skill nobody had in Switzerland and/or the position had been advertised and nobody could be found from Switzerland or the EU.
So we have been waiting for news of an agreement that would help ski instructors get back to work.
WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?
It’s hard to say, but it’s an encouraging bit of mood music.
The Swiss are not exactly in a good place with the EU as their own negotiations have stalled.
So a deal with the UK seems politically timely.
But how long will it take exactly?
Well there is a consultation period of eight weeks where both governments will talk to businesses and see what would be best for trade.
That takes us through to the end of June.
Then negotiations will start – which might be very fast or could be painfully slow.
The implication of a free trade deal is that all import duty gets scrubbed, which would be quick to agree but it is likely the deal will be highly nuanced with certain sectors getting one rule and other industries subject to a different rule.
COULD IT BE READY IN TIME FOR NEXT WINTER?
Well, it really could be…
It depends how complex the deal becomes and if they do one mega-deal or, essentially, break it down into mini-deals – one on this industry and one on that industry etc.
And the mobility of workers should be simple enough as we could simply implement the same rules as then Swiss-EU deal on worker mobility.
So we are feeling optimistic that thing are moving in the right direction.
Let’s hope they move quickly.