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SWITZERLAND – End of Immigration Limitations for Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals

The Swiss government has confirmed that the limitations on immigration which are currently valid for nationals from the European Union member states Romania and Bulgaria will, as expected, be lifted as of 1 June 2016. Croatian nationals will, however, remain subject to immigration limitations.

What does this mean?

This means that, from 1 June 2016, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will be treated the same as other EU nationals in terms of easy access to the Swiss labour market. No prior work permit approval is required for EU nationals to work in Switzerland with a Swiss local employment contract. As with other EU nationals, all that is required, prior to starting work, is a simple registration at the local residents office of the municipality of residence.

Background

According to the “safeguard clause” (Art. 10 Abs. 4c of the Agreement on free movement of persons with the EU), the Swiss government is, until 31 May 2019, entitled to impose quotas in case immigration from Bulgaria and Romania surpasses by 10% or more the median of the previous three years. Such a decision can be made between 1 June 2017 and 1 June 2018. So far the population with Bulgarian or Romanian nationality is relatively small in Switzerland. At the end of 2015 this category made up 0.9% of the permanent residing population. In the year 2015 the available quotas were not exhausted.

Action Items

  • Companies working in Switzerland should take into account the forthcoming lifting of immigration restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

This alert was prepared using information provided by Sgier und Partner.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.