Swiss set new limits for East European workers

Switzerland said on Wednesday it will grant just 2,180 long-term work permits this year to citizens of eight Eastern European countries under a reinstated quota system.

The quotas, which take effect on May 1st, are designed to block an estimated 4,000 migrants from the so-called ‘A8’ nations that joined the European Union in 2004 — the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

The government said it would review the programme before it expires at the end of April 2013 and consider extending it another year.

The government announced on April 18th that it was reinstating the quotas but had not given specifics.

The quotas affect ‘B’ permits that allow foreign nationals to work in Switzerland for periods of a year or more.

Since Switzerland lifted immigration restrictions on A8 nationals on May 1st, 2011, some 6,000 citizens from the eight countries have been granted long-term work permits.

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