Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Senators work against Swiss missionary ban
A group of senators and representatives in the United States is calling on Switzerland to allow Mormon missionaries to continue working in Switzerland after 2012, despite a de facto ban.
The new regulations stem from a
bilateral accord on the free movement of people between Switzerland and the European Union that came into effect in 2002. In effect, this agreement allows European nationals to seek employment in Switzerland while significantly restricting work permits for people from all other countries.
A decision by the Swiss courts established that missionary work is considered gainful employment and therefore subject to quotas.
The Swiss embassy responded to the request by Congress members – who included Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate – in an October letter offering hope for a possible solution through dialogue and other means.
Under an existing transition agreement, a maximum of 80 Mormon missionaries from the US were allowed into Switzerland in 2010, and 50 will be permitted in 2011. As of 2012, there will be no future admissions of missionaries of any denomination from any third party states, according to the Swiss embassy.
Excerpted from article: US lawmakers criticise Swiss missionary ban by Karin Kamp, swissinfo.ch, Karin Kamp