Safeguard clause for workers from Bulgaria and Romania

von René Rey (Kommentare: 0)

Starting from 1. June 2017, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens have limited access to Swiss labor market

In April 2016 the Federal Council (Swiss government) lifted the immigration limitations for Bulgaria and Romania per 1. June 2016 as per the bilateral agreements with the EU. This means that nationals from these countries are from that date onwards treated as the other EU nationals in terms of easy access to the Swiss labor market. No prior work permit approval is necessary for such a national who is to work in Switzerland with a  Swiss, unlimited local employment contract. Just as with other EU nationals, a simple registration at the local inhabitants’ office of the intended municipality of residence prior to starting work suffices. The Swiss government is according to Art. 10 Abs. 4c of the Agreement on free movements of persons with the EU entitled until May 31st, 2019 to impose quotas in case immigration from Bulgaria and Romania surpasses 10% over the median of the previous 3 years (safeguard clause).

Today, the Federal Council called for the safeguard clause for workers from Bulgaria and Romania.

The Federal Council decided to call the safeguard clause for persons from Romania and Bulgaria, which is provided for in the free movement agreement (FZA). In the next 12 months, starting from 1. June 2017,  Romanian and Bulgarian citizens (EU-2) therefore have only limited access to the Swiss labor market if they wish to take up employment under a residence permit B. Residence permits B will therefore be limited to 996 units for EU-2 workers in the next 12 months and released quarterly. In the case of short-stay permits (L permits), the prerequisites for inviting the safeguard clause are not fulfilled. This does not mean a change in the determination of the immigration cases in terms of permit applications, meaning that employers wishing to locally employ nationals from these countries do not need to change their processes to any effect. Should any change be imminent, we will of course inform you immediately.

The safeguard clause provided for in the bilateral agreements mentioned above allows Switzerland to reintroduce quotas on a one-off basis for a limited period if the quantitative requirements laid down in the Agreement are met. Between June 2016 and May 2017, the threshold for the granted residence permits (category B) was significantly exceeded. In 2016, the migration balance from the EU-2 countries doubled compared to the previous year with some 3,300 persons. This increase is in contradiction to the general trend of a diminishing migration balance from the EU / EFTA area. Since the introduction of full freedom of movement for nationals from Romania and Bulgaria on 1 June 2016, more and more workers have migrated to seasonal jobs. These professions show above-average unemployment rates. 

By invoking the safeguard clause, the Federal Council is using an instrument to control immigration to Switzerland, which is available to it under the terms of the free movement of persons.

May 12, 2017

Sgier + Partner GmbH | swiss immigration+relocation services
Tödistrasse 67, 8002 Zurich Switzerland | phone: +41 44 228 78 90



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