Switzerland – Update: Swiss Government Enforces Quotas on Category B Permits for Persons from Romania and Bulgaria

What has changed
As explained in our announcement of May 10, 2017 , Switzerland’s Federal Council announced plans to invoke the safeguard clause contained in the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. Beginning June 1, 2017, and lasting for a period of twelve (12) months, the Swiss government has enforced quotas on category B permits for workers from Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2 states). The 996 B permit quota units are released on a quarterly basis.

The safeguard clause allows Swiss authorities to restrict unilaterally, during a defined period of time (usually one (1) year), the immigration of citizens of European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states if the immigration from these countries exceeded a certain percentage of the average of past years.

Update: Since June 1, 2017, during the second month of the first quarter (Q1) and since the first month of the second quarter (Q2) which started on September 1, 2017, the 249 B permits quota was exhausted. For the third quarter (Q3) which started on December 1, 2017, the B permit quota was already exhausted. No more B permits can be granted until the fourth and last quarterly (Q4) quota is released on March 1, 2018. We expect the fourth quarterly (Q4) quota to be exhausted only a few days after the release.


Who is affected?

  • Bulgarian and Romanian citizens submitting category B work permit applications.
  • Employers hiring Bulgarian and Romanian citizens not currently in possession of a valid Swiss work and residence permit for more than one (1) year.

What to expect
The Federal Council has not restricted L permits (short-term residence permits of up to one (1) year) for workers from Bulgaria and Romania.
Some Bulgarian and Romanian applicants may be refused B permits and, instead, be issued L permits for their employment, subject to the discretion of regional Cantons in Switzerland.


What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Clients should submit their B permit applications as early as possible in the beginning of each quarter.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.