Working Legally in Switzerland
Expats are required to obtain a work permit to work legally in Switzerland, unless they are citizens of a European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country. Non-EU/EFTA citizens who wish to work in Switzerland must obtain a work permit before starting employment in the country.
Who Must Make the Application?
The application for a work permit must be made by the employer in Switzerland, not the expat. The employer must prove that no suitable candidates for the position can be found within the EU/EFTA, and that the expat’s employment will not have a negative impact on the local job market
Citizens of EU/EFTA countries do not require a work permit to work in Switzerland, as they have the right to work in any EU/EFTA member state. Additionally, certain categories of professionals, such as highly-skilled workers and executives, are exempt from the work permit requirement.
Types of Work Permits for Expats in Switzerland
The following types of work permits are available to expats in Switzerland:
B Permit: This permit is issued for a maximum of 12 months and is renewable. It is valid for work with a specific employer in a specific canton (Swiss state).
L Permit: This permit is issued for a maximum of one year and is renewable. It is intended for short-term stays in Switzerland for work purposes.
C Permit: This permit is issued for an indefinite period and is renewable. It is intended for highly-skilled workers and executives who are expected to reside in Switzerland for an extended period.
Inclusion of family members
Expats who have obtained a B or C permit in Switzerland may also bring their family members with them to the country. Family members must apply for a separate permit, which is dependent on the expat’s permit.
Work Permit Application Process in Switzerland
The following is the procedure for obtaining a work permit in Switzerland:
The employer must advertise the position in the local area for at least 10 days, to prove that no suitable candidates can be found within the EU/EFTA.
The employer must then apply for a work permit from the Swiss embassy or consulate in the expat’s home country.
The Swiss embassy or consulate will then review the application and issue a work permit if the conditions have been met.
How long does it take
The processing time for a work permit application in Switzerland can vary depending on the country and the workload of the Swiss embassy or consulate. On average, it takes between 4-6 weeks to obtain a work permit in Switzerland.
Work Permit Documents in Switzerland
Switzerland is known for having a very robust and extensive work permit system in place for expats. The documents you need to apply for a work permit in Switzerland vary depending on your country of origin and the specific circumstances surrounding your work permit application. However, in general, you will need to submit the following:
A valid passport:
You will need a valid passport from your home country that will remain valid for the duration of your work permit.
A completed application form:
You will need to fill out an application form for a work permit, which you can typically find on the website of the canton in which you plan to work.
Proof of your qualifications:
You will need to submit proof of your qualifications, which may include educational certificates or professional certifications.
Proof of your employment:
You will need to submit documentation that proves your employment in Switzerland, such as a job offer letter or a contract of employment.
Proof of your financial situation:
You may need to show proof of your financial situation, such as bank statements, to prove that you can support yourself while living and working in Switzerland.
Proof of your health insurance:
You will need to provide documentation showing that you have health insurance that meets the requirements of Swiss law.
What costs are involved in applying for a work permit in Switzerland?
The costs involved in applying for a work permit in Switzerland can vary depending on your specific circumstances, including your country of origin, the duration of your stay, and the type of work you will be doing. In general, you can expect to pay a fee for the processing of your work permit application. This fee can range from CHF 50 to CHF 1,000, depending on the type of permit and the canton in which you plan to work.
In addition to the processing fee, you may also be required to pay for other associated costs, such as medical exams, translations, and travel expenses. These costs can add up quickly, so it is important to budget accordingly.
Where can expats go for reliable information on working legally in Switzerland?
Expats looking for reliable information on working legally in Switzerland have several resources at their disposal. The Swiss government has a website dedicated to providing information for foreign nationals looking to live and work in Switzerland, which can be found at https://www.ch.ch/en/working-switzerland/.
Additionally, expats can contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in their home country for more information on the work permit application process. Finally, there are numerous online resources and expat forums that can provide valuable information and advice for expats looking to work legally in Switzerland.