No more labour market restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals as of 1st June 2016

Romanian and Bulgarian nationals locally hired in Switzerland have had limited access to the Swiss labour market over the past few years, as opposed to nationals of other EU /EFTA countries. Until 30th May 2016, only a limited number of management level employees, specialists and other qualified employees from Romania and Bulgaria are admitted to the Swiss labour market after a thorough check of their employment and salary conditions, which must be in line with the Swiss requirements.This means that immigration restrictions and processes are until then very similar to those applying to non-EU/EFTA citizens.

Between 1st June 2015 and 30th May 2016, work permits issued to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals are limited to:

• 11’664 L type permits
• 1’207 B type permits

The above quotas are only relevant for permits valid for more than 4 months or 120 days. All permits valid for up to 4 months or 120 days are quota free.

Please note that as for all other EU/EFTA nationals, in case of assignments (intra-company or project workers), work permits will continue to be issued only to management level employees, specialists and other qualified employees and quotas remain in place for all permits of more than 4 months / 120 days.

No further labour market restrictions as of 1st June 2016

The Swiss Federal Council decided today 13th April 2016 that as of 1st June 2016 restrictions for gainful employment of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals locally hired in Switzerland labour market restrictions will be lifted.

This means that Romanian and Bulgarian local hires, like all other EU/EFTA local hires, will have a legal entitlement to obtain a Swiss work and residence permit upon signature of a Swiss employment contract and they can fully benefit from the agreements on the free movement of persons (FMP).

Caveat: If the number of persons arriving in Switzerland from Romania and Bulgaria from 1st June 2016 until 31st May 2017 is 10% higher than the number of arrivals over the last 3 years,
the Swiss Federal Council may re-introduce work permit quotas for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals, but earliest on 1st June 2017 and the quota may be kept in place for a maximum of two years until 2019.

Please note that this new development is a new stage of the gradual implementation of the FMP concerning Romania and Bulgaria. This has, however, no connection with the implementation of the so called mass immigration initiative, which shall be implemented as of February 2017 and may have a significant impact on the admission requirements and procedures for EU/EFTA and third country nationals. The first draft of the respective law is currently subject to controversial parliamentary discussions and negotiations with the EU, which means that the future Swiss immigration policy remains unclear to a significant extent.


PwC will continue to monitor the Swiss immigration authorities’ practice on the federal and cantonal levels very closely, and we will advise all clients on any upcoming changes.

Your PwC contacts

Mirela Stoia
PwC Geneva
+41 58 792 91 16
Martin Zeier
PwC Basel
+41 58 792 52 74

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Mirela Stoia

Mirela Stoia

Mirela Stoia
Avenue Giuseppe-Motta 50
1211 Genève 2
+41 58 792 91 16

Mirela Stoia is a Leader in the Swiss immigration team. She is a passionate immigration lawyer with more than ten years experience in the immigration field. Mirela has a Master Law degree from the University of Fribourg. She joined PwC in October 2012 after having worked for several years in the immigration department of a Zurich based law firm and subsequently for a Toronto based global immigration law firm (now KPMG Legal).

Her main focus is to deliver the highest level of immigration services to her clients with a pro-active, solution oriented and pragmatic approach.
Mirela has excellent connections at the Swiss authorities’ level and in the Swiss and international immigration landscape. She has been providing immigration advice and assistance to multinational corporations for many years and she is used to handling complex immigration cases in- and outbound of Switzerland.