Every non-EU citizen who wants to work in the Switzerland has to obtain a valid work permit. Either the employee or their prospective employer may request the permit, although it is usually the employer who makes the request.
A work permit is valid only for the employer who makes the request and ceases if / when the employee leaves the job. There is no general work permit for the Switzerland.
The process of applying for a Swiss work visa depends on your nationality, among other things. As with other types of visa, different rules apply for EU/EFTA citizens as opposed to non-EU/EFTA citizens.
Who is Eligible for a Switzerland Work Visa
As a non-EU/EFTA citizen, you are eligible to apply for a Switzerland work visa if you meet the following conditions:
1. You are a skilled and qualified worker (manager, specialist) and you have a university degree, several years of work experience, and specific expertise.
2. You already have a job waiting for you.
3. There is no EU/EFTA citizen who could take the job instead.
4. The annual quotas for Swiss work visas allow it.
If you meet those requirements, and your employer is applying for your residence permit, then you can apply for your Switzerland work visa.
Types of Swiss work permits
Foreign workers in Switzerland needing a work visa will be issued one of two types of permit:
- Permit L – for short-term residence permit that allows you to stay in Switzerland for up to one year. The L permit is tied to the terms of the employment contract and may be extended in exceptional cases for a further year but no more if you continue to work for the same employer.
- Permit B – this is an initial or temporary residence permit that is valid for one year but can be extended annually, as long as there are no grounds for it not to be reissued (e.g., being a recipient of welfare benefits). These permits are issued on a quota basis and are tied to the same employer. The permits often specify that you live in the canton that issued the permit and cannot move out of that canton.
- Permit C – which is a settlement permit. Those who work in Switzerland long-term on a B permit often move to a C permit when they become eligible. However, this is not mandatory.
- Permit G: Designed to allow for cross-border commuting, a Type G permit allows an individual who lives in an EU/EFA country to enter Switzerland for work. The main stipulation of this permit is that an individual must return home at least once a week. Those employed in Switzerland for more than 12 months can secure a Type G permit for five years. However, for those with short-term contracts of less than 12 months, the permit only lasts as long as the employment arrangement.
Working while studying in Switzerland
You can work up to 15 hours per week during term time as a foreign student in Switzerland. During holidays, you can work full-time. However, you will have to inform your cantonal immigration office about your work.
Students from outside the EU/EFTA can only take up employment in Switzerland after living there for six months. Additionally, your employer will need to get a work permit for you.
If you already hold a Master’s degree from a foreign university and you’re in Switzerland working for your Swiss university or institute, you don’t have to wait six months but can start work straight away.
You can find out more in our guides to Swiss work visas, finding a job in Switzerland, and Swiss CV and job application techniques.
Finding a job in Switzerland
Finding a job in Switzerland may seem like an impossible, daunting mission. However, there are ways you can do that.
Perhaps someone already approached you with an offer and you don’t have to actively look for a job.
However, if you don’t have an employer in Switzerland already, one of the easiest ways to find a job that fits you is through a recruitment agency.
International recruitment agencies can help foreign nationals find a job in Switzerland that is suited to their skills and experience. They know the local job market and can help you with your job application, CV, interview, and give tips on how to secure the job.
Furthermore, they are usually informed of work and residence permits, and any other formalities that involve hiring foreign workers.
You could also contact a local recruitment agency in Switzerland, or even look up work online through job listings.
Below are more Demanded Jobs in Australia
- College or Vocational Instructor
- Registered Nurse.
- Truck Driver.
- Business Management Consultant.
- Licensed Practical Nurse.
- Occupational or Physiotherapy Assistant.
- Software Engineer or Designer.
- Dispensing Optician
- Veterinary Technician or Assistant
- Construction Estimator
- Steamfitter or Pipefitter
- Aircraft Pilot
- Industrial Electrician
- Aerospace Engineer
A category D visa currently costs CHF 88. You may have to pay extra (up to 50% above the standard price) if you need the visa fast-tracked or outside of normal working hours. You’ll have to pay along with the application.
Swiss work visas are usually valid for one to five years. If you are working on a short fixed-term contract of 12 months or less, you will probably be given a non-renewable L permit for one year. For contracts lasting longer than 12 months, you get a B permit, which can be renewed each year. After ten years in Switzerland (or five years if you’re from the EU/EFTA, the United States, or Canada), you can apply for a settlement permit if you want to.
You cannot enter Switzerland as a tourist and then take on work. If you want to work, you must leave Switzerland and then apply from your home country.
How to apply for a Switzerland Work Visa?
The process for obtaining a Swiss work visa goes through these steps:
- Finding a job in Switzerland.
- Completing the Swiss work visa document file
- Your employer applies for your residence permit in Switzerland.
- You apply for the Switzerland work visa in your country.
If you are an EU/EFTA citizen
Since Switzerland has established free movement with the EU and EFTA, citizens from those countries can freely enter Switzerland and stay there for up to three months, without any visa. However, when it comes to staying longer than three months and working in Switzerland, they must apply for the adequate permit. Namely, a residence permit which allows you to take up work.
So even though they don’t need to apply for a work visa from their country (or have a job waiting for them) before they enter Switzerland, EU/EFTA nationals do need to apply for a residence permit.
Even so, an EU/EFTA citizen can obtain a work and/or residence permit easier than his non-EU/EFTA counterpart. That’s because there are no quota restrictions regarding how many EU/EFTA immigrants Switzerland will accept.