Sunday Dec 10, 2023

Things you need to know while working in Switzerland as a Foreigner

Switzerland is a country where one has an eye for working. It is considered temporary employment when individuals work in Switzerland for up to three months, or 90 days per calendar year, and don’t need a residence permit. On the other hand, their employer must register their paid employment in Switzerland through the notification procedure for short-term work at least one day before the job begins.

In case of more than three months of employment, before beginning work, individuals are required to register for a residence permit from the Swiss commune in which they are residing. The required documents are a valid identity card or passport, employer confirmation of employment, or a work certificate. The residence permit is valid everywhere in Switzerland and entitles you to change jobs or employers. The length of your employment determines its validity period. However, this is not the case with other kinds of employment. Let’s look at them to understand better.


Who is eligible to work in Switzerland?

Only qualified non-EU/EFTA nationals with several years of professional experience, such as managers, specialists, or university graduates, can work in Switzerland.

Even for short-term employment, non-EU/EFTA nationals require a work permit because the number of visas that can be issued is limited. A work permit for self-employment may also be issued. Spouses of Swiss nationals or individuals with a settlement permit are exempt from the need for a work permit. Your future employer must demonstrate that your employment is in Switzerland’s economic interests and that they cannot recruit the necessary personnel in Switzerland or from an EU/EFTA member country. People from your office must provide you with the same working conditions and pay as Swiss nationals.

How to Apply and Requirements for Job

It is the same as any job requirement, including a CV, cover letter, and educational certificates to make you stand out. However, it is also better to contact a job agency in Switzerland as they have the contacts through which you may get preference and interview calls. There is also a language requirement if you are applying for high posts. Try knowing their national languages(German, French, Italian, and Romansh). It also acts as an added advantage if you have built a network. The maximum number of vacancies for foreign nationals comes from industries that include IT, Engineering, Hospitality, Finance, and Pharmaceuticals.  

Self-employment and Freelancing

Finding the same sector where top self-employed jobs in Switzerland are available is difficult. Within fourteen days of your stay in Switzerland, you must register your arrival and apply for a permit from the commune where you are residing. Like temporary employment, you must submit a valid identification card or passport documents demonstrating that you are or will be self-employed and capable of supporting yourself and your family (e.g., your accounting records). On the other hand, Switzerland is currently experiencing a shortage of local engineers and skilled workers in technology, consulting, banking, insurance, and information technology. Self-employed foreigners looking to relocate to Switzerland may have the best luck in these fields.

Switzerland’s work culture

The Swiss value sobriety, thrift, tolerance, punctuality, and a sense of responsibility, which reflects in their formal and conservative business practices. The culture of a Swiss company can differ depending on its location, whether in the French, German, or Italian regions of Switzerland. 

The hierarchy is generally vertical, with decision-making occurring at the organisation’s top. 

Remember to get insurance.

Working in Switzerland entitles you to the Swiss social security system. Health insurance is mandatory. Before choosing insurance, look for a health insurance comparison online for yourself and your family within three months of arriving or starting work in Switzerland. Check health insurance websites for more information.  Medical insurance comparison helps you research so that you can buy the best plan as per your budget and family requirements. 

Private accident insurance is only necessary if you work for less than eight hours per week. If you earn over this amount, your employer must ensure that the contribution gets deducted from your pay.


Work and volunteer opportunities in Switzerland

If you are under 35, you can travel to Switzerland to volunteer or gain work experience. Regarding visa requirements, volunteering and work experience placements are treated similarly to paid work. In other words, if you are from a country with visa entry requirements into Switzerland and your placement is for 90 days or less, you will need a C visa.

You will need a category D visa for more extended placements, and the organization you are volunteering with will need to obtain an L permit. This permit can last for up to a year.

Switzerland has a Young Professionals (trainees) program that allows citizens from the following countries to work for up to 18 months in the country. This program is open to Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the U.S.


It is challenging to find work in Switzerland but working in one of the world’s advanced economies boosts anyone’s career and life. Fulfilling all job criteria, learning their language, and building a network can land your job here. 

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