With some astonishment, I've discovered that Switzerland will prohibit Mormon missionaries from entering the country in 2012. See, "US Mormons criticize Swiss missionary ban" in swissinfo.ch. It stems from a change in law that indirectly affects missionary service.
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 to be for gainful employment and therefore subject to quotas.
Although I can find nothing about this in official Chuch news sources, it must be well-known to our leaders since a temporary agreement has already been negotiated and talks are continuing.
US Senator Mike Crapo is leading an effort on behalf of 14 US senators who sent a letter to the Swiss embassy in Washington earlier this year urging the government to find a way forward for missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Also:
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.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.One can only hope that some agreement can be worked out that will allow outside missionaries to continue serving in Switzerland. The article points out that Swiss missionaries are allowed to serve in the U.S.A. free of restrictions.
KSL: "New Swiss law could block foreign LDS missionaries from country"
KSL: "Church's Official Statement"
The Church has a long history in Switzerland. Missionary work extends back to 1850. The first temple in Europe was built in Bern, Switzerland. Many Utahns and communities have Swiss heritage. Elder Hans B. Ringger, an Emeritus Member of the Seventy who died October 18, 2010 was Swiss. In 2003, the Swiss celebrated the Sesquicentennial of the Church in Switzerland. See also the Church's country web sites in French and German.
Update: "New legislation creates dilemma for Mormons" published December 16 in swissinfo.ch