Knowledge

Work Permit in Switzerland

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Since the establishment of the Bilateral Agreements between Switzerland and the European Union, citizens from the EU residing in Switzerland for profit – making purposes, have a legal claim to the access to the Swiss labor market, given that all the required legal conditions are met. The agreements also apply to the states that are members of the European Free Trade Association. Each Swiss canton approves residence and work permit applications for non – residents, based on the submission of a signed working contract with a company in Switzerland.

Bulgaria and Romania also joined the EU on January 1st 2007, which means that the Bilateral Agreements apply to those countries as well. Concerning the free movement of persons, a transitional period was established for no later than 2016. Switzerland continues to provide priority to its domestic employees and applies a separate quota system.

Registration and permit application process in Switzerland

Citizens of the EU/EFTA member states, without Romania and Bulgaria

Citizens of the EU or EFTA member states, asides from Romania and Bulgaria are no longer required to register with the Swiss authorities, if they work less than three months or 90 days per calendar year for a company in Switzerland. Self – employed service providers and persons who are being sent from a company are not required to obtain a work permit for cross – border services, as long as their activities don’t last longer than three months or 90 days per calendar year. However, an online registration with the Swiss authorities is required for any work activity lasting more than 8 days per calendar year.

Work activities in primary and auxiliary construction industry, hotel and restaurant businesses, cleaning industry, security and surveillance services, as well as activities in the erotic business must be registered online starting with the first day of work. This rule also applies to commercial travelers.

Online registrations are free of charge and registrations sent by fax or e – mail are not accepted.

Self – employed service providers and persons who are being sent to Switzerland by various companies are required to obtain a work permit if their cross – border services exceed the duration of three months / 90 days per calendar year. A permit application D1 must be submitted to the cantonal authority.

EU and EFTA citizens being employed by a Swiss company are required to submit application forms in order to obtain a work permit, depending on their work contracts. A K1 form is submitted for a short-term permit application – up to 4 months of uninterrupted stay or 120 sporadic days per year and a A1 form is submitted for a short term permit application – up to one year based on a limited employment contract. The same A1 form is submitted also for a long-term permit application – up to 5 years, based on an unlimited employment contract.

Those who start working in a self – employed status for one year must submit the SE1 permit application form, for sole proprietorship or GmbH, together with a business plan, proof of financial means and a certificate of registration, in the case of a GmbH.

Citizens that are part of the EU - 15 member states and EFTA citizens can be issued a permanent residence permit after 5 years of uninterrupted stay in Switzerland. Citizens of the EU – 8 member states and citizens from Malta and Cyprus can be issued a permanent residence permit after 10 years of uninterrupted stay in Switzerland, which is still subject to renewal after 5 years.

Citizens of Romania and Bulgaria

Self – employed service providers and persons sent from a foreign company are not required to obtain a work permit, as long as their cross – border activities don’t take longer than three months / 90 days per calendar year. If their activities last longer than 8 days per calendar year, they must register online with the Swiss authorities, free of charge.

If citizens from Romania and Bulgaria work in the following industries: primary and auxiliary construction, hotel and restaurants, cleaning, security and surveillance services, erotic businesses, must require a work permit prior to the first day of work. This rule also applies to commercial travelers. In order to obtain a work permit, it is required to submit an application form K8 / B8 to the cantonal authority.

Romanians and Bulgarians sent by a company in Switzerland must obtain a work an residence permit prior to starting their job in the country.

In order to acquire a work permit for longer than three months / 90 days per calendar year, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens must submit a D1 permit application form to the cantonal authority, which then reviews the priority of domestic employees, salary level and working conditions.

Even if they work for less than three months / 90 days per calendar year, Romanian and Bulgarian citizens must obtain a work permit prior to starting their job in Switzerland. In order to obtain a work permit, it is necessary submitting a K8 form for a short-term work permit – up to 4 months of uninterrupted stay or 120 sporadic days and a B8 form for a short-term work permit – up to one year based on a limited business contract. The same form is submitted to obtain a long-term work and residence permit for up to 5 years, based on an unlimited employment contract.

The cantonal authorities review the priority of domestic employees, salary level and working conditions.

A permanent work and residence permit is issued only after 10 years of uninterrupted stay in Switzerland, and is subject for renewal after 5 years.

Citizens from non – EU/EFA member states

The number of immigrants from non – EU/EFTA member states is limited by a strict quota system.

For these citizens it is required to obtain a work permit and online registration is not possible. It is necessary to submit a K2 form by a Swiss – based company to employ a specialist from these countries in order to obtain a work permit for up to four months / 120 working days per calendar year.

In order to register non – EU/EFTA specialists for more than four months / 120 working days per calendar year, a B2 application form is required, for a work permit up to one year based on a limited employment contract, with the one – time option to extend it for another 364 days. The same form is submitted to obtain a long – term work permit, up to 5 years, based on an unlimited employment contract.

Non – EU/EFTA citizens who wish to work on a self – employment status in Switzerland are only issued a residence and work permit on exceptional basis.

A permanent residence permit can be issued after 10 years of uninterrupted stay in Switzerland and is subject to renewal after 5 years.

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