Work permit quotas set for Croatian nationals

17 Jan 17



What is the change? The Swiss government has set work permit quotas for Croatian nationals under Switzerland’s agreement with the European Union on the free movement of people. Quotas will be set on Croatian nationals during a transition phase lasting through 2023.

What does the change mean? For the first year, ending December 2017, the work permit quotas for Croatian nationals are 543 L permits and 54 B permits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: B and L work permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers hiring and assigning Croatian nationals in Switzerland.
  • Business impact: Companies in Switzerland wishing to hire Croatian nationals should be prepared to provide documentation in connection with labor market testing.

Background: The Swiss government approved Protocol III of the Switzerland-EU agreement on the free movement of people effective Jan. 1.

For 2017, Croatian nationals will be subject to a quota of 543 L permits (for employment contracts of longer than four months but less than one year) and 54 B permits (for employment contracts of at least one year or an indefinite term).

During the transition, Swiss employers wishing to hire a Croatian national on a local employment contract (including short-term local employment of less than three months) must first show that they have made efforts to hire a local worker. Online registration is not permitted for local hires.

Croatian assignees (who remain employees of the foreign company) performing general services in Switzerland for up to 90 days per calendar year should register online eight days before the work start date; those providing structural and secondary contract work, gardening and landscaping, cleaning work or security service must hold a work permit before starting work. Employers hiring Croatians for assignment durations of more than 90 days must submit work permit approval similar to those for other EU/EFTA nationals; for durations longer than four months, employers must obtain a permit quota from the quotas reserved for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment.

The transition period runs through 2023. For the following three years, free movement of Croatian nationals will take effect, but Switzerland may impose limits if immigration from Croatia is excessive. Beginning Jan. 1, 2027, Croatians will have free movement and full access to the Swiss labor market.

BAL Analysis: Employers hiring and assigning Croatian nationals should be aware of the quotas and transition period rules, including local labor market testing. Additionally, technical problems are currently preventing assignees from using the online registration system and may not be resolved until March. Meanwhile, employers and assignees should submit registration forms.

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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