Switzerland: Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to be exempt from labour market rules


On or after June 1, 2016, nationals of Bulgaria and Romania under a local Swiss employment contract will no longer be subject to Swiss labour market rules such as a labour market test, salary and working condition checks and the foreign national quota system.  Instead, they will be subject to the same registration formalities that apply to EU nationals.

Currently, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals face a labour market test, are subject to a quota and can only obtain work permits if their salary, educational background, and terms of employment are in accordance with conditions applicable in the employer’s region and sector.


This policy change implements the Free Movement of Persons Agreement enacted in 2009, which provides for progressive liberalisation of access to the Swiss labour market.

Switzerland has the right to reintroduce a work permit quota system for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals until May 31, 2019 if immigration from these countries exceeds the average of the previous three years by 10%, or if other conditions are met.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Employers of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals in Switzerland should benefit from the exemption and should contact their immigration professional to discuss the applicable work permit rules.

Employers may see reduced costs associated with their work permit applications for such nationals since labor market requirements will be eliminated.