Switzerland Further Extension of Safeguard Clause for Croatia

On November 22, 2023, Switzerland’s Federal Council decided to extend for another year the safeguard clause provided for in the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) for Croatian nationals coming to work in Switzerland. The number of new work permits for 2024 will remain at the same level as for 2023.

  • The AFMP concluded with the EU providing for a phased opening of the Swiss labour market to Croatian nationals.
  • Full freedom of movement was introduced on a trial basis in 2022, resulting in a sharp increase in the number of Croatian workers in Switzerland.
  • The Federal Council therefore unilaterally activated the safeguard clause provided for in the AFMP from January 1, to December 31, 2023 and reintroduced permit quotas for Croatian nationals.

Between January and the end of October, Switzerland issued the entire quota of B permits (i.e. 1,204 permits, valid for five years) and 76 per cent of the available 1,053 L permits (i.e. short-term permits, renewable beyond twelve months) for 2023. In 2024, the number of permits issued to workers from Croatia will be capped at the same level as in 2023.

Under the AFMP, the safeguard clause can only be invoked for two consecutive years. Full freedom of movement for Croatian nationals will therefore come back into force again in 2025 on a trial basis. The transitional arrangements for Croatian nationals run over a period of ten years, until December 31, 2026.

Erickson Insights

Erickson Immigration Group will continue monitoring developments and sharing updates as more news is available. Please contact your employer or EIG attorney if you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions.