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Agreement with the Swiss Federation: free movement of persons

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Agreement with the Swiss Federation: free movement of persons

 

SUMMARY OF:

Agreement between the European Community and the EU countries and Switzerland on the free movement of persons

Decision on the conclusion of seven Agreements with the Swiss Confederation

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE AGREEMENT AND OF THE DECISION?

The agreement establishes the principle of free movement of persons between the territory of the European Community (now the EU) and that of Switzerland.

The decision approves six agreements between the European Community and Switzerland, including that on the free movement of persons.

KEY POINTS

EU and Swiss nationals enjoy reciprocal rights of entry, residence, access to paid work and establishment on a self-employed basis, and the right to stay in each other’s territory after their employment has finished.

The right of entry and residence applies to everyone, including those without an economic activity in the host country.

The host country must grant foreign nationals the same living, employment and working conditions as those accorded to nationals. The agreement provides protection against discrimination based on nationality.Other rights related to the free movement of persons concern:

  • the right to personal and geographical mobility;
  • the right of residence for members of the family and their right to pursue an economic activity, irrespective of their nationality;
  • the right to acquire immovable property, specifically in order to establish a main or secondary residence in the host country;
  • the right to return to the host country after the end of an economic activity or period of residence there.

The agreement also provides for the coordination of social security systems under the principle of equal treatment, as well as the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

Providing servicesService providers, including companies, may temporarily provide a service on the territory of another contracting party to the agreement under the same conditions as nationals of that country. This right does not apply to services carried out on the territory of a contracting party for persons receiving services who are located in the territory of the other party.This service must not exceed 90 days of work in a calendar year. After that, the provider must apply for a residence permit for the duration of the service provision.Persons receiving a service have the right of entry and residence in the territory of the other party to the agreement. They do not require a residence permit if their stay is less than 3 months. After that, a residence permit must be issued by the competent authorities for the duration of the service provision.

Management by the Joint CommitteeA Joint EU-Swiss Committee made up of representatives from the two parties ensures compliance with, and application of, the agreement. The committee decides on any amendments required concerning specific annexes to the agreement. It is responsible for settling any disputes related to compliance with the agreement.

Enlargement of the EU

As the number of countries joining the EU has grown, additional protocols have been agreed to allow for the gradual introduction of free movement of persons from the new EU countries.

The most recent protocol to be agreed between the EU and Switzerland takes into account the participation of Croatia as a contracting party to the agreement following its accession to the EU on 1 July 2013. This allows Switzerland, for a period of 7 years from the date of entry into force of the protocol, to restrict the access of Croatian citizens to its labour market (quotas, priority to local workers, control of working conditions and wages). During the last 2 years of this transitional period, the Joint Switzerland-EU Committee must approve the continuation of these restrictions.

FROM WHEN DO THE DECISION AND THE AGREEMENT APPLY?

The decision has applied since 4 April 2002 and the agreement came into force on 1 June 2002.

Citizens of:

  • the original 15 EU countries, Cyprus and Malta have enjoyed free movement rights since 1 June 2007;
  • the Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia have enjoyed free movement rights since 1 May 2011;
  • Bulgaria and Romania have enjoyed the same rights on a trial basis since 1 June 2015, and are subject to quotas until 1 June 2019.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

MAIN DOCUMENTS

Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons — Final Act — Joint Declarations — Information relating to the entry into force of the seven Agreements with the Swiss Confederation in the sectors free movement of persons, air and land transport, public procurement, scientific and technological cooperation, mutual recognition in relation to conformity assessment, and trade in agricultural products (OJ L 114, 30.4.2002, pp. 6–72)

Successive amendments to the agreement have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Decision Decision 2002/309/EC, Euratom of the Council, and of the Commission as regards the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, of 4 April 2002 on the conclusion of seven Agreements with the Swiss Confederation (OJ L 114, 30.4.2002, pp. 1-–5)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Council Decision (EU) 2017/192 of 8 November 2016 on the conclusion of a Protocol to the Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other, on the free movement of persons, regarding the participation of the Republic of Croatia as a Contracting Party, following its accession to the European Union (OJ L 31, 4.2.2017, pp. 1–2)

last update 10.09.2018

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