When it comes to employment, Croats should be treated equally with other EU/EFTA citizens, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) reacted on Thursday to Switzerland's decision to limit Croatian citizens' access to its labor market from January 1, 2023, and called on Switzerland to reconsider the decision.
The Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) "regretfully received information about the decision of the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation to reintroduce transitional measures for the access of Croatian citizens to the Swiss labor market for a period of one year, from January 1, 2023 to December 31 the same year, after which this decision will be reconsidered", it was announced.
In that year, the quota system for issuing work permits to Croats will be applied, and MVEP considers the renewal of restrictions unnecessary.
"Acknowledging the fact that this decision is based on the provisions of Protocol III of the Agreement on Freedom of Movement between the European Union and the Swiss Confederation and that in the period from the temporary abolition of these transitional measures on January 1, 2022, the number of Croatian citizens who requested a work permit in Switzerland increased, the ministry maintains that this increase was not of such an intensity that would require the reintroduction of restrictions", it is emphasized.
Although Croatia became a member of the EU in 2013, Protocol III, which extended the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the EU to Croatian citizens, entered into force in Switzerland only in 2017, so the citizens of the Republic of Croatia were deprived of the timely start of the application of this of the Agreement, including the beginning of the transitional period, the MVEP notes in the press release.
"After the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation activated the protective clause that will again limit the employment of citizens of the Republic of Croatia, until the end of 2026 at the latest, the ministry expects the Swiss side to review this decision in a timely manner, so that when employed in Switzerland, Croatian citizens are treated equally with other to EU/EFTA citizens", the press release said.