SWITZERLAND: Update – Government Extends “Safeguard Clause” Limiting Residence Permits for Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals

June 28, 2018

The Swiss Federal Council has decided to extend, for the year from 1st June 2018, the quota on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals (EU-2) of 996 long-term B permits, released quarterly.

[UPDATE: The State Secretary of Migration has confirmed that there will be no quota for short-term L permits for EU-2 nationals.]


From 1st June 2016, the Swiss government lifted the immigration restrictions on nationals of Bulgarian and Romania, in accordance with the bilateral Agreement on free movement of persons with the EU.

The Swiss Federal Council announced on 10th May 2017 that it would impose the quota, invoking the “safeguard clause” provided for in its bilateral treaty with the EU.

For EU nationals, no prior work permit approval is required to work in Switzerland with a Swiss local employment contract, only a simple registration at the local residence office of the municipality of residence.

According to the “safeguard clause” (Art. 10 Abs. 4c of the Agreement), the Swiss government is, until 31st 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.

Upcoming Labour Market Test Requirement

From 1st July 2018, employers wishing to hire foreign nationals in Switzerland, for jobs which have a high unemployment rate, will be required to test the Swiss labour market by advertising the position online for five days, through the Public Employment Service (PES).

Initially, the requirement will only be applied for occupations with an unemployment rate of 8% or above. This threshold will be lowered to 5% from 1 January 2020. As of 19th April 2018, the definitive relevant jobless rates have not yet been published.

Our Advice

Companies intending to hire Romanian or Bulgarian nationals in Switzerland should plan to submit permit applications in good time to avoid issues.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Switzerland, please email us at enquiries@newlandchase.com.