Switzerland – End of Work Permit Quotas for Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals

What has changed

On June 1, 2016 the Swiss government lifted the immigration restrictions on nationals of Bulgaria and Romania, in accordance with the bilateral Agreement on Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) with the EU. On May 10, 2017 the Swiss Federal Council announced that it would impose quotas, invoking the safeguard clause provided for in the AFMP. According to the safeguard clause (Art. 10 Abs. 4c of the AFMP), the Swiss government is entitled to impose quotas until May 31, 2019, if immigration from Bulgaria and Romania surpasses the median of the previous three (3) years by ten (10) percent or more.

During a meeting on May 15, 2019 the Swiss Federal Council legislated to remove the safeguard clause imposing quotas on residence permits for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania (EU2). Effective June 1, 2019 Romanian and Bulgarian (EU2) nationals will fully benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons signed between Switzerland and the European Union under the same conditions as the other EU member states (except Croatia).

Who is affected

All clients who currently or will employ EU2 nationals in Switzerland.

What to expect

For EU nationals, no prior work permit approval is required to work in Switzerland with a Swiss local employment contract, only a simple registration at the local residence office of the municipality of residence.

Switzerland will maintain, until at least December 31, 2021, transitional provisions allowing Croatian nationals to work only if a labour market test is in place and subject to quotas.

What you need to do

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Emigra Worldwide immigration specialist for case-specific advice.