Is it Difficult to Get a Work Visa in Switzerland?

Switzerland is consistently rated as one of the top places to live in the world. Although getting a work permit can be challenging, it’s possible for people with EU or EFTA citizenship, those married to a Swiss resident, and highly specialised professionals. Keep reading to learn more about the requirements to move to Switzerland.

Step 1: Determine If You Can Work in Switzerland

If you come from a non-EU or EFTA country, obtaining a work permit and living in Switzerland isn’t always possible. Only certain groups of people can get a permit.

Highly Qualified Specialists

As a non-EU or EFTA national with no connections to Switzerland, you can only get a job in the country if no Swiss, EU, or EFTA worker could be found for the position. This means that you have a good chance of finding work if you’re a highly trained specialist with a university degree and several years of experience in your field.

People with Swiss Roots

If you live abroad but one of your parents is Swiss, you may be able to acquire Swiss citizenship and work in Switzerland if you have close ties to the country. This means that you have regular contact with Swiss citizens, speak one of the national languages, understand the country’s geography and history, and have visited Switzerland at least three times in the last six years.

People Married to a Swiss Resident

You don’t need a work permit to find a job in Switzerland if you’re married to a Swiss national or long-term resident. You’re considered part of the native workforce. However, this may not be the case if your spouse is a foreign national who has recently immigrated to Switzerland. In this case, your ability to work depends on your situation and skills.

Is it Difficult to Get a Work Visa in Switzerland?

Step 2: Determine If You Need a Work Visa

Not every foreign national who would like to work in Switzerland needs a work visa. If you’re from an EU or EFTA country, you can enter Switzerland without one. You can work or look for a job for up to three months. If you want to stay longer, you have to apply for a residence permit. This involves submitting a valid ID or passport and confirmation of employment or proof that you have the financial means to support yourself to the local council.

If you’re from a non-EU or EFTA country and you’re not married to a Swiss resident, you have to get a work visa. This is true even if you’re planning to stay for less than three months.

Types of Work Permits

Several types of work permits are available. Speak to your future employer to figure out which one makes the most sense in your situation. Aside from the permits described below, there are also several options for cross-border workers, refugees, and persons in need of protection.

L Permit

The L permit is meant for foreign nationals who are staying in Switzerland for a short period and for a specific purpose such as a course or a contract job. People with this permit typically stay for three months to a year.

B Permit

People who have a long-term job and would like to stay in Switzerland long-term need a B permit. It is valid for five years at a time and can be renewed if certain conditions are met. With a B permit, foreign nationals can only work at the company that hired them, and they can’t move to a different canton.

C Permit

The C permit is a permanent settlement permit. It is valid indefinitely and allows foreign nationals to work at any Swiss company and move freely around the country. Most people are eligible for the C permit after spending 10 or more years in Switzerland.

Ci Permit

Dependents of civil servants, foreign representatives, and workers for intergovernmental agencies can get a Ci permit. This allows them to live and work in Switzerland. Only spouses and children up to the age of 25 are eligible for this permit.

Step 3: Obtain Your Work Permit

The process for obtaining a work permit differs by canton and permit type. If you already have a job, your employer will contact the cantonal immigration and employment market authorities and request the relevant permit on your behalf.

If you’re from an EU or EFTA country and you don’t have a job at the time of your arrival, you have to contact your local council and register with them within 14 days of your arrival. Once you’ve completed the registration, which usually requires an in-person meeting at the council, you will then be issued your temporary residence permit.

Is it Difficult to Get a Work Visa in Switzerland?

Step 4: Check the Other Requirements to Move to Switzerland

Additionally, you have to take out basic health insurance within three months of your arrival. If you fail to do so, your council will assign you insurance. This is more expensive than finding your own provider, and the policy might not be tailored to your needs.

For many people, the first step to becoming a Swiss resident is finding the right job. Send your CV to us at Rigby AG to find out about the roles we’re currently recruiting for. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive more insights into the requirements to move to Switzerland and what life is like here.