SWITZERLAND: Freedom of Movement for Croatian Citizens Beginning 1 January 2022

November 18, 2021

The Swiss Federal Council recently announced that Croatian citizens will be granted full freedom of movement beginning on January 1, 2022.

Although Croatia became an EU Member State in July 2013, Switzerland has maintained labor market protection measures for Croatian citizens as allowed under the EU-Switzerland Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP). Under current rules, effective until 2022, Croatian citizens are subject to additional immigration measures such as permit quotas (released quarterly) and labor market testing.

What’s Changed?

This change will put Croatian nationals on equal terms with EU/EFTA nationals. As such, as of January 1, 2022, they will be allowed to follow the streamlined EU/EFTA national immigration process.

It is important to note that if the number of Croatian workers immigrating to Switzerland exceeds a certain threshold, Swiss authorities do have the ability to invoke a safeguard clause that once again limits the number of Croatian workers in the country. The safeguard clause can be invoked against Croatian citizens until the end of 2026 at the latest.

Newland Chase Insights

These upcoming changes will provide Croatian citizens and Swiss companies hiring Croatian citizens with a significantly easier immigration process and fewer restrictions to live and work in Switzerland. If Switzerland experiences an influx of Croatian workers into the country, however, a safeguard clause may be invoked to re-establish immigration limitations on a temporary basis. Newland Chase’s Swiss office will closely monitor the situation and immigration levels in the new year and provides updates as warranted.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Case for any case- or company-specific assessments.