Swiss assure EU that current immigration rules to apply till 2017

The Swiss government has assured the European Union that the present agreement giving EU citizens unrestricted access to the Swiss labor market will apply until 2017.

The head of Switzerland’s Federal Justice Department, Simonetta Sommaruga, met officials from the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels on Monday for talks on the implications of the Swiss vote last month to impose annual quotas on work-seekers from the EU within three years.

The backing for restrictions on immigration into Switzerland threatens to nullify the bilateral treaty signed with the EU in 1999, a key clause of which guarantees the free movement of citizens between the EU and Switzerland.

The Swiss justice, foreign and economic affairs departments are working on getting a plan, for adopting tighter immigration, ready by the end of June that will be written as a draft law by the end of the year.

“Switzerland has three years in which to implement the provisions of the new quota system, and seek a solution with the EU,” the government said in a news release on Tuesday. “The agreement on the free movement of persons will be applied in full until that time,” it said.