Work permits

Obtaining a work permit in Switzerland depends on various factors, including the country of origin, the skills a person has and quotas. The country has a dual system that allows foreigners to work. Citizens from the EU are generally allowed to come to Switzerland for three months while they look for work. The period can be extended to up to six months. Citizens from all other countries must have a guaranteed work contract from an employer and an appropriate work visa before they are allowed to enter the country. Just by having a job it’s not a guarantee to receive a permit. However, Switzerland continues to provide priority to its domestic employees and applies a separate quota system.

EU citizens that don’t work more than 90 days per calendar year are not required to register with the authorities. However, an online registration is required for any work activity of more than 8 days per calendar year. For some work activities, online registration is necessary even from the first day of work. Self-employed service providers and persons who are being sent to Switzerland from a foreign company are required to obtain a permit if their cross-border services exceed the duration of three months per calendar year.

Citizens from Bulgaria and Romania are required to obtain a work and residence permit prior to starting their job in Switzerland, even if they are employed by a company for less than three months. These regulations were set for these two countries until 2016. However, these regulations are momentarily in order only until 2017, when Switzerland renegotiates its bilateral accord with the EU on the free movement of people, or it might be revoked.

Citizens that are non – EU members should know that the number of non – EU immigrants is limited by a strict quota systems, based on various criteria.

Switzerland grants various types of permits:

  • Short – term permits, ranging from 3 to 12 months, granted to people who work in the country for less than a year. EU citizens receive this permit after being in the country for three months and that are looking for a job.
  • Initial residence permits, granted to persons who have an unlimited employment relationship, lasting for at least 12 months. It is valid for 5 years and can be extend as long as the employment relationship continues. The permit may be limited to one year, if a person is unemployed for more than 12 consecutive months.
  • Permanent residence permits, granted to EU citizens after a regular and uninterrupted stay of 5 years in Switzerland.
  • Cross – border commuters are persons who live in a border zone and work in another border zone in Switzerland. It is no longer necessary for EU citizens to have a permit if they’re commuters, however, they do have to return to their residence abroad at least once a week.

Our firm is able to help you obtaining a work permit in Switzerland, or to obtain work permits for employees, by handling all the necessary paperwork and by complying with the Swiss legislation regarding work permits.