Switzerland | Government Restricts Work Permits for Croatian Nationals

On November 16, the Swiss Federal Council activated the safeguard clause according to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. As a result, in the coming year, the access of Croatian workers to the Swiss labor market will be restricted by the Swiss federal government implementing quotas for Croatian workers.

 What to Expect
  • 1150 new category B residence permits and 1007 new category L short-stay permits will be available for Croatian workers in the coming year. (By comparison, between January and October 2022, Switzerland issued 2413 B permits for Croatian workers.)
  • The quotas mean that Croatian workers are no longer entitled to be granted a short stay permit L EU/EFTA and a residence permit B EU/EFTA.
  • If the allocated quota is not exhausted, an assurance of the permit can be granted upon request.


Are there Exceptions?

Intercompany transfers of senior executives and specialists to Switzerland remain possible even after the quotas have been exhausted. In most other cases, a prior inquiry must be made as to whether quotas are still available in the cantons or have already been exhausted.

Exceptions to the maximum quota for Croatian employees may be made in cases of:

  • Intercompany transfer of members of senior management and indispensable specialists in internationally active companies; (Art. 30 AIG)
  • Gainful employment in the context of family reunification; (Art. 30 AIG) 
  • To take into account severe cases of personal hardship or important public interests; (Art. 30 AIG)
  • To facilitate the readmission of foreign nationals who were in possession of a residence or settlement permit; (Art. 30 AIG)
  • In the case of gainful employment of a total of no more than four months within a twelve-month period in Switzerland, provided that: 1. The duration and purpose of the stay are fixed from the outset and 2. the number of foreigners employed does not exceed one-quarter of the total workforce in the company except in justified exceptional cases; (Art. 19 para 4 lit a VZAE)
  • Persons who previously held a temporary employment relationship in Switzerland for at least 30 months are automatically entitled to become employed on an unlimited contract. (Art. 27 para 3 lit. A Annex 1 FMPA)


Erickson Insights

According to the national government, the reason for this is that the number of workers from Croatia has risen significantly in the current year and has exceeded the thresholds set out in the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. The Federal Council is thus using the instruments at its disposal to better manage migration in line with economic needs.

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting above or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.