Switzerland: Bulgarian, Romanian nationals to be exempt from work permits for local employment

The Swiss government has confirmed that beginning June 1, nationals of Bulgaria and Romania will no longer be subject to quotas and will be entitled to free movement and full access to the Swiss labor market.

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What does the change mean? Like other EU nationals, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will no longer need to apply for work permits to work in Switzerland on local employment contracts.

  • Implementation time frame: June 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Bulgarian and Romanian nationals working on local employment contracts in Switzerland.
  • Impact on processing times: Work-permit processing will be eliminated for nationals of the two countries.
  • Business impact: The policy will benefit Swiss employers seeking to hire Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

Background: The Swiss government was expected to lift restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians, who currently make up less than 1 percent of the foreign resident population. Under a safeguard clause in the Swiss-EU agreement on the free movement of people, if immigration of Bulgarians and Romanians surpasses 10 percent over the median of the previous three years, Switzerland may reintroduce immigration quotas until May 31, 2019.

BAL Analysis: Beginning June 1, Swiss employers may hire Bulgarian and Romanian nationals on local employment contracts without seeking work-permit approval, and the employees need only to register with the municipality where they live before starting work.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Switzerland. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seven offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

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