Press release on Switzerland’s decision to restrict labour market access for Croatian nationals

The Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs regrets to learn that the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation has decided to reintroduce transitional measures for access to the Swiss labour market for Croatian nationals for a period of one year, from 1 January to 31 December 2023, after which the decision will be reconsidered. During that period, a system of quotas for the issuance of work permits to Croatian nationals will be in force.
Recognising the fact that the decision is based on provisions of Protocol III to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the EU and Switzerland, and that in the period since the temporary lifting of the transitional measures on 1 January 2022 the number of Croatian nationals seeking work permits in Switzerland has increased, the Ministry believes that the increase has not been of such a scale to require the reintroduction of the restriction. Furthermore, even though Croatia joined the EU in 2013, Protocol III, which expanded the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the EU and Switzerland to include Croatian nationals, took effect in Switzerland only in 2017, meaning that Croatian nationals were denied a timely beginning of its application, including the beginning of the transitional period.
After the Swiss Federal Council activated the safeguard clause that will again restrict employment for Croatian nationals, until no later than the end of 2026, the Ministry expects the Swiss side to reconsider its decision in a timely manner so that Croatian nationals are given the same treatment in employment as other EU/EFTA citizens.

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