Fallout appears from Swiss decision on foreign workers


Geneva’s jet d’eau and stoplight. Green light remains for cross-border workers despite EU safeguard clause invoked by Switzerland

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The day after Switzerland announced that it will curb the number of foreign workers from the European Union, starting 1 May, four other European countries signed a letter saying that they, too, need to limit immigration, reports RTS. The Netherlands, Britain, Germany and Austria cited reasons similar to Switzerland’s for invoking the safeguard clause, noting that the impact of immigration has been too great, with  high numbers as economic conditions in other countries have deteriorated. But the four also underscored their believe in the free movement of people and are calling for ministers to review the situation at a June meeting.

Politicians in Geneva Thursday pointed out that the Federal Council’s decision 24 April to invoke the safeguard clause to limit the number of EU citizens working in Switzerland could have the opposite effect in Geneva. Charles Beer, member of the cantonal council, told RTS that since EU citizens can still move to France they will be able to legally work as cross-border workers, possibly inflating these numbers. The safeguard clause applies only to longer-term workers with B permits.