In February 2014, some 50.3 percent of Swiss voters backed a right-wing proposal to reintroduce immigration quotas for EU citizens arriving in the country.
"The Federal Council is looking to apply a safeguard clause in order to control the immigration of persons covered by the Agreement on the free movement of persons with the European Union (EU). To do so, it will seek a mutually acceptable solution with the EU," the statement reads.
The unilateral safeguard clause presupposes the independent control of immigration by introducing temporary and targeted restrictions on residence and work permits for individuals from EU and European Free Trade Agreement (EFT) states.
"A specific threshold will be set for the immigration of citizens of EU and EFTA states, which, if exceeded, would lead to quantitative limits and quotas being introduced the following year," it was noted in the statement.
The Swiss Cabinet announced that it would continue its negotiations with the European Union to ensure that any new measures do not contradict the principle of the free movement of persons between the European bloc and Switzerland.
At the end of 2013, foreigners constituted almost 24 percent of the Swiss population, one of the highest indices in any Western economy, raising concerns that the situation would lead to discrimination in hiring practices and an imbalance in social benefits for local residents.