The government says quotas will remain in place for Bulgarians and Romanians wishing to work in Switzerland until at least the end of May, 2014.
Wednesday’s announcement comes only four days after quotas were lifted for eight European Union countries which joined the EU in 2004. Bulgaria and Romania became members in 2007.
Both eastern European countries, through their EU membership, have benefited since 2009 from Switzerland’s treaty with the EU on the free movement of people.
However, a clause in the treaty allows Switzerland to regulate immigration through quotas for up to seven years. This means, in effect, that the Swiss government could at a later date extend the quota period for Romanians and Bulgarians until May 31, 2016.
The quotas in the first year of the transitional phase (2009-2010) were nearly all claimed (about 4,000), and the government said it expected all of the quotas to be used up in the second year.
Around three quarters of the demand is in the hospitality sector (hotels/restaurants). As of December 31, 2010, there were 8,690 Bulgarians and Romanians living in Switzerland.
swissinfo.ch and agencies