Croatian Nationals

Access to the Swiss labour market has been eased for Croatian nationals. However, there is still a notification or permit requirement, and certain conditions must be satisfied.

Table of contents

Transitional provisions

Croatia joined the EU on 1st July 2013. The extension of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) to Croatia was negotiated in the new Protocol III, which came into force on 1st January 2017. Since then, Croatian nationals can benefit from the free movement of persons, but are still subject to certain transitional provisions. These transitional provisions expire at the end of 2021. From 1st January 2022, free movement of persons will fully apply to Croatian nationals.

Quotas

In accordance with Protocol III, the Switzerland-wide quota for short-stay permits available to Croatian citizens in 2021 totals 2,000. By comparison, the negotiated residence permit quota amounts to just 250.
Quotas are released quarterly. The Office for Economy and Labour has no influence on quota distributions.
 

Commencement of work Switzerland

Employment relationships between foreign employees and employers based in Switzerland are referred to as commencements of work.
The first-time commencement of work of Croatian nationals in Switzerland is still subject to a permit. Precedence of domestic employees as well as the salary and working conditions customary for the location and sector are factors that will be checked.  

Postings

Different from work commencements, posted employees remain subject to the employment contract with their employer in the country of origin. Their work assignment in Switzerland is limited and, as a rule, project-bound. The free movement of persons does not apply unconditionally in such cases.

Up to a maximum of ninety (90) days per calendar year

Croatian nationals assigned to perform work or a service in Switzerland by a company based in Croatia may do so for up to ninety days per calendar year without a permit. However, they are subject to the notification requirement by their Croatia-based employer. Said notification to the authorities must occur at the latest eight days before starting work.

Employers must adhere to the salary and working conditions customary for the location, profession and sector.

However, a work permit is required from the first day in the following sectors:

Advantages:

  • Construction and secondary construction work
  • Gardening and landscaping services
  • Industrial cleaning services
  • Surveillance and security services

Note

 

The notification requirement applies to all forms of gainful work in excess of eight days within a calendar year. However, notification from the first day is required in the following sectors:

  • Hospitality industry
  • Erotic services
  • Cleaning work in private households
  • Itinerant trade

Notification procedure team at the Office for Economy and Labour

Email: meldeverfahren@vd.zh.ch

Phone: +41 43 259 91 11

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
2:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More than ninety days (90) per calendar year

A permit must be applied for prior to the start of work if it is evident that the envisaged work will require a stay of more than ninety days per calendar year. Requests to extend the provision of services beyond ninety days will be granted in exceptional cases only.

Self-employment

Residency in Switzerland

Croatian nationals who take up residence and want to become self-employed in Switzerland are subject to the same provisions as other EU/EFTA citizens. They have the right to pursue gainful self-employment in Switzerland, provided their place of residence is here. However, they must provide evidence of self-employment; the establishment of a company or a business premise with actual and economically viable business activity must be substantiated by way of accounting records.

Up to a maximum of ninety (90) days per calendar year

Croatian citizens pursuing self-employment in Switzerland for up to a maximum of ninety days per calendar year do not require a special permit. However, they must notify the authorities of their activity by the latest eight days prior to the start of their self-employed work.  

Note

 

The notification requirement applies to all forms of gainful work in excess of eight days within a calendar year. However, notification from the first day is required in the following sectors:

  • Hospitality industry
  • Erotic services
  • Cleaning work in private households
  • Itinerant trade

Notification procedure team at the Office for Economy and Labour

Email: meldeverfahren@vd.zh.ch

Phone: +41 43 259 91 11

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
2:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More than ninety (90) days per calendar year

A residence permit is required for gainful self-employment in excess of three months. Permits are issued via registration at the competent commune of residence.

Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich

Email: info@ma.zh.ch

Phone: +41 43 259 88 00

8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

No residency in Switzerland

Croatian nationals who do not take up residency in Switzerland, but still wish to pursue self-employment, cannot do so unconditionally.  

Up to a maximum of ninety (90) days per calendar year

Citizens of Croatia pursuing gainful self-employment in Switzerland for up to a maximum of ninety days per calendar year may do so without a permit. However, they must notify the authorities of their activity at the latest eight days prior to starting work.

However, a work permit is required from the first day in the following sectors: 

Advantages:

  • Construction and secondary construction work
  • Gardening and landscaping services
  • Industrial cleaning services 
  • Surveillance and security services

Note

 

The notification requirement applies to all forms of gainful work in excess of eight days within a calendar year. However, notification from the first day is required in the following sectors:

  • Hospitality industry
  • Erotic services
  • Cleaning work in private households
  • Itinerant trade

Notification procedure team at the Office for Economy and Labour

Email: meldeverfahren@vd.zh.ch

Phone: +41 43 259 91 11

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
2:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More than ninety (90) days per calendar year

A work permit is required if the duration of the self-employed activity is in excess of three months. Such a permit will only be issued if the activity corresponds to the general interest of the Swiss economy and, furthermore, the person pursuing self-employment is a specialist. In addition, proof of self-employment abroad must also be provided.

Further information

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Contact

Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit – Abteilung Arbeitsbewilligungen

Email

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