SWITZERLAND: Limits Set on Immigrants from Croatia

November 18, 2022

On 16 November, the Federal Council decided to invoke the safeguard clause included in the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFPM). This means that from 1 January 2023, work permits for Croatian nationals will be again subject to quotas.

Immigration levels from Croatia breached the safeguard threshold in the AFPM in 2022. This threshold is reached when the number of permits issued in a given year – in this case 2022 – is more than 10% higher than the average of the previous three years (i.e. 2019-2021).

Between January and October 2022, the cantonal migration authorities granted 2,413 B permits to Croatian nationals, despite the threshold for 2022 being 178 (162 permits being the average of the years 2019 to 2021, which were still subject to quotas, + 10%). The 2022 figures therefore meet the quantitative conditions from the AFMP, allowing Switzerland to unilaterally invoke the safeguard clause.

The Swiss authorities have already made use of the safeguard clause in the past for other states which had joined the EU.

In accordance with the legal provisions, Switzerland will therefore reintroduce quotas for B and L permits for Croatian nationals from 01 January 2023. The number of B and L permits available to Croatians in 2023 will be 1,150 and 1,007 respectively.

Generally, immigration to Switzerland has increased in 2022 further to the quick economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

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 Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.