Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, may have recently been named the world’s most liveable city for expats, but a recent vote could have adverse implications for those hoping to move there.
In a referendum held earlier this month, the Swiss public narrowly voted for the government to introduce immigration quotas for EU residents – a move that has served to anger the Union. Although Switzerland is not one of the 28 EU member countries, a long-term agreement had been in place affording EU citizens the rights to live and work in the country, and Swizz citizens freedom of movement within the EU.
The EU has said that the result of the vote will have “serious consequences” for ongoing relationships between the Union and Switzerland, but the Swiss Defence Minister has played down any fears the Swiss public may have about the EU will abandon them completely.
“The EU and Switzerland both have an interest in coming up with sensible solutions,” says Ueli Maurer, who was an advocate of seeing immigration quotas introduced. “It’s unthinkable that the bilateral agreements will be terminated, whether by Switzerland or by the EU. Both sides benefit from them.”
Official statistics show that the number of foreigners living in Switzerland rose by 61,570 people last year – two thirds of whom came from European Union countries. EU immigration had previously been uncapped, but with the country’s population growing by approximately 1 per cent each year, largely due to immigration, a decision to introduce quotas has been introduced.
The Swiss government has said it will draw up an implementation plan by the end of June with the aim of drafting a law by the end of the year.
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