Switzerland – Swiss Government Announces Plans to Enforce Quotas on Category B Residence Permits for Persons from Romania and Bulgaria

What has changed

On 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 will enforce quotas on category B residence permits for workers from Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2 states). The 996 B-permits quota units will be released on a trimester basis. Previously, Bulgarian and Romanian citizens fully benefited from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons.

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.

Who is affected?

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

What to expect

The Federal Council will not restrict L residence permits (short-term residence permits of up to one (1) years) for workers from Bulgaria and Romania.

Some Bulgarian and Romania applicants may be refused B-permits and, instead, 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 far in advance as possible, as well as submitting the applications early in the beginning of each trimester.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.