Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013. Croatia’s accession does not have any immediate bearing on the Agreement of Free Movement of Persons (AFM) concluded between Switzerland and the EU because each time a new member joins the EU, the agreement is supplemented by an additional protocol.
The agreement was extended to Croatia through Protocol III, which was initialled in 2013. The protocol envisages the full free movement of persons with Croatia following a ten-year transitional period.
On 9 February 2014, the Swiss electorate adopted a popular initiative aimed at stopping mass immigration. As a result, the Federal Council is no longer in a position to sign Protocol III in its original version because it violates the new constitutional provisions.
The admission of Croatian nationals to Switzerland is therefore still subject to the provisions of the Foreign Nationals Act (FNA). From 1 July 2014, Croatian nationals will be subject to separate quotas on access to the Swiss labour market. These quotas comprise 50 one-year B permits and 450 short-term L permits.