Switzerland imposes quotas on work permits for Bulgarians and Romanians

Switzerland imposes quotas on work permits for Bulgarians and Romanians

The government of Switzerland decided on May 10 to limit work permits for Bulgarians and Romanians, saying that in 2016, net migration from the two countries had doubled in contrast to a general trend of diminishing migration by citizens of EU/EFTA countries.

Switzerland had fully lifted labour movement restrictions on citizens of Bulgaria and Romania in June 2016, but kept in place a proviso that under certain circumstances, restrictions could be imposed up to 2019.

“In the next 12 months, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens therefore have only limited access to the Swiss labour market if they wish to take up employment under a residence permit B,” the Swiss Federal Council said on May 10.

Between June 2016 and May 2017, the threshold for the permits had been “significantly exceeded,” the statement said.

The B-type residence permits would therefore be limited to 996 for Bulgarians and Romanians over the next 12 months, and issued on a quarterly basis.

This did not apply to short-stay permits, where the conditions for activating restrictions had not been fulfilled, the statement said.

In 2016, the migration balance from the EU-2 countries doubled compared to the previous year, by some 3300 people.

“This increase is in contradiction to the general trend of a diminishing migration balance from the EU/EFTA.”

Since the introduction of full freedom of movement for nationals from Romania and Bulgaria on June 1 2016, more and more workers have migrated to seasonal jobs. These professions show above-average unemployment rates.

By invoking the valve clause, the Federal Council is using an instrument to control immigration to Switzerland, as allowed in a bilateral agreement with the EU./IBNA