The transitional regulations are designed to ensure a gradual and controlled opening of the labour markets.
- For the 15 "old" EU states (EU 15) together with Malta and Cyprus, full free movement of persons has applied since 1 June 2007; the other eight states (EU-8) that joined the EU in 2004 have been enjoying full free movement of persons since 1 May 2011.
- Until 31 May 2014, the safeguard clause can be applied for these EU-25 States. As of 1 May 2012, the safeguard clause was applied for initially one year to citizens of the EU-8 states with B-Permits. On 24 April 2013, the Swiss Federal Council decided to extend the safeguard clause for the EU-8 member states with effect as of 1 May 2013 for one further year. In addition, it decided to invoke the safeguard clause for the other 17 EU-Member States for one year.
- For Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007, the transitional period can run up to 31 May 2016 at the latest. The safeguard clause's application to Bulgaria and Romania can be invoked until 31 May 2019.