Temporary restrictions on the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens lifted

Press release, Federal Council, 13 April 2016

The transitional provisions restricting the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens are set to expire on 1 June 2016. The Federal Council today adopted the partial revision of the ordinance concerned. Under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) with the EU, Switzerland may still set quotas for both states for the period until 31 May 2019, in the event that Bulgarian and Romanian immigration exceeds a certain threshold.

Protocol II of the AFMP, which extends the free movement of persons to Bulgaria and Romania, has been in effect since 1 June 2009. Its purpose is to lift progressively the restrictions imposed on citizens of these two EU states wishing to work in Switzerland. Switzerland twice extended restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers - in 2011 and 2014. Under these restrictions, precedence is given to Swiss residents, advance verification of remuneration and working conditions is required and an overall quota is imposed. The seven-year transition period expires on 31 May 2016, ending the transitional provisions on the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

Low immigration intake from Romania and Bulgaria

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens make up only a small portion of Switzerland's foreign resident population - 0.9% as at the end of 2015. This corresponds to 18,364 Bulgarians and Romanians who have resident status in Switzerland. In 2015, Switzerland admitted 1,542 employed workers for long-term stays, 22.1% fewer than in 2014. This figure fell short of the applicable quota.

For further information:

  • Free Movement of Persons Switzerland EU/EFTA
  • EU/EFTA Citizens: Living and Working in Switzerland