Free Movement of Persons Switzerland – EU/EFTA

Graphic presentation: Schedule for the introduction of the Free Movement of Persons Switzerland – EU/EFTA
enlarge_picture Introduction of the Free Movement of Persons Switzerland – EU/EFTA

On 21 June 1999, the European Union (EU) and Switzerland signed the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP). The AFMP lifts restrictions on EU citizens wishing to live or work in Switzerland. The right of free movement is complemented by the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, by the right to buy property, and by the coordination of social insurance systems. The same rules also apply to citizens of EFTA member states.

On 1 June 2002, the AFMP came into force for citizens of the "old" EU member states (EU-15) as well as for citizens of EFTA member states. As a result of EU eastern enlargement on the 1 May 2004, the AFMP was supplemented on 1 April 2006 by an additional protocol containing provisions for the gradual introduction of the free movement of persons for ten new EU member states (EU-8; Cyprus and Malta have enjoyed the same conditions as the "old" 15 EU member states from the very beginning, hence the term EU-17). In a referendum held on 8 February 2009, the Swiss electorate approved the continuation of the AFMP after 2009 and Protocol II on extension of the Agreement to Romania and Bulgaria (EU-2). Protocol II came into force on 1 June 2009. Protocol III on the extension of the AFMP to Croatia became effective on 1 January 2017.

Citizens of the "old" EU member states, including Cyprus and Malta (EU-17), and citizens of EFTA member states have enjoyed free movement rights since 1 June 2007. Citizens of EU-8 member states were granted the same unrestricted free movement rights on 1 May 2011 and Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2) have enjoyed the same rights since 1 June 2016.

Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013. The extension of the AFMP to Croatia was negotiated in Protocol III. In the light of the popular initiative aimed at stopping mass immigration and the adoption of the constitutional provisions on immigration (Art. 121a Cst), the Protocol III had not been signed immediately. However, Switzerland applied separate quotas for Croatian nationals from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2016. Their access to the Swiss labour market remained subject to the provisions of the Foreign Nationals Act. On 1 January 2017, the AFMP was extended to Croatia. During the first implementation period, special transitory measures are applied on Croatian nationals.

Further information

(Most of these documents are not available in English)

Arbeitsmarktintegration von EU/EFTA-Angehörigen in der Schweiz

Massnahmenpaket des Bundes­rates vom 24. Februar 2010

Press Releases

(Most of these documents are not available in English)

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