Switzerland“s immigration policy is currently under review as a deal regarding restrictions of migrants from within the European Union is reportedly close to completion.
Last year, Swiss voters approved immigration quotas on EU citizens despite the fact that this goes against the EU”s freedom of movement, and would compromise other existing bilateral agreements.
A proposal has been submitted to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, with several sources claiming he has already given it his approval. The proposal is set to be discussed in more detail with the rest of the EU institutions imminently.
There is an article within the free movement accord which states a joint committee between Swiss and EU representatives can adopt measures “in case of serious economic or social problems”, which is thought to be the cornerstone of any agreement.
Such an agreement is being drawn up between the parties which would allow this provision without changing the free movement accord.
It is thought that the European Commission are keen to reach an amicable agreement with Switzerland in order to protect the jobs of many cross-border workers living in the EU, whose jobs in Switzerland could be at risk.
There are also concerns that if the “safeguard clause” in the free movement accord is activated it could prompt the United Kingdom, who have similar concerns regarding immigration, to follow suit. An agreement between Switzerland and the EU would seek to avoid that scenario.
If Switzerland does make use of the safeguard clause, immigration quotas could be introduced which would be down to the Swiss federal government to decide annually.
European legal expert Christa Tobler, from the University of Basel, has warned that this could put Swiss companies at risk by effectively reducing the talent pool.
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