Anger as Swiss visa rules are relaxed

Anger as Swiss visa rules are relaxed

Switzerland has suddenly relaxed visa requirements for workers from 33 countries, including many Balkan nations, in a move that has angered anti-immigrant opposition politicians.


The liberalization of the visa regime by the Federal Department for Justice and Police (FDJP) would affect 33 non-EU countries whose citizens want to work or participate in training in Switzerland for a maximum of three months, newspaper Tages Anzieger reported.

“The FDJP plans obviously represent a serious change in practice. It is unthinkable that they are secretly trying to wave them through,” National Councillor for the Swiss People’s Party, Hans Fehr, told the newspaper.

Although visas for entry under such circumstances would no longer be required, work permits would.

“We are merely removing an administrative hurdle,” said spokesman for the Federal Department for Migration, Michael Glauser.

The countries to benefit under the amendments would include the Balkan countries Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, and also the United States, Canada and several South American countries.

The amendment would be the second change in recent times to make it easier for those from the Balkans to enter the country.

Glauser explained that the requirements for the work permits would still be strict.

But Fehr said he feared that the number of work permits would increase significantly, adding another level of burden to an already overloaded system.

Fehr also voiced concern that many would overstay their permissions, and questioned how the state would be able to police the migrant workers’ departures.

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