Switzerland Employment Visa
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Why Choose Switzerland?
Switzerland is a lovely mountainous country in central Europe with a land area of 41,285 km2 and a population of 8.6 million people. Since Switzerland is not a member of the EU, they have their own currency, the Swiss franc. Their capital city is Bern, but Zurich is the economic centre, and is one of the most expensive city in Europe in terms of living costs. Fortunately, it also has one of Europe’s highest average annual wages. German, French, Italian, and Raeto-Romanic are their official languages. This economically stable, secure, and high-quality-of-life country is extremely popular for expatriates.
Benefits of Working in Switzerland
Salaries are considered high in comparison to most other countries around the world; in fact, they are ranked third highest among all Economic Cooperation and Development member countries (OECD). On the other hand living costs are high, but according to Swiss companies, the wages allow for more savings compared to other countries.
In Switzerland, you must pay federal, cantonal and communal taxes, though the canton is in charge of collecting taxes. Tax rates vary by canton, but are said to be much lower than in neighboring countries such as Germany.
Swiss cities are believed to have the highest quality of life in the world. In fact, Switzerland is home to two cities with the world’s second and eighth highest quality of life, Zurich and Geneva.
Not just is the average working week 35.2 hours each week, according to the OECD, compared to 36.4 hours in the United Kingdom, 38 hours in Spain, 42.1 hours in Greece, and 48.9 hours in Turkey. However, it appears that “sacred” lunch breaks, a culture of part-time work, and high salaries all contribute to a good work-life balance.
The accessibility of beautiful lakes, biking trails, and mountain walking routes creates an outdoor lifestyle accessible to all. Most cities are all within one or two hours’ drive to the mountains, so you can simply drive there and ski for a weekend or even a day.
Switzerland’s contract employment market is more adaptable than that of some of its neighbors. With numerous contracting opportunities that offer both higher salaries and lower personal income tax rates.
You are entitled to at least 20 days of annual leave per year when contracting through a Swiss recruitment company, in addition to public holidays.
When you are contracted for eight hours or more per month, your employer is responsible for your accident insurance, which means that if you are in an accident at work or elsewhere, your medical expenses will be covered. If you are unable to work as a result of the accident, you are entitled to up to 80% of your regular pay.
The public transportation system is efficient, clean, modern, and extensive.
Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn, has mountains, lush green valleys, parks, lakes, and some of the world’s best ski resorts.
Switzerland is well-known for its healthcare system, and has some of the world’s shortest appointment waiting times.
The life expectancy on average in the country is above 80 years, ranking it tenth in the world.
(For short-term residence)
This permit is valid for one year and is dependent on the terms of the employment contract. You are only permitted to work for that specific employer and company. You may be able to extend your visa for another year in some cases, but you cannot stay longer than 24 months with a Permit L.
(For temporary/initial residence)
The B Permit is also valid for one year, but it can be renewed on an annual basis. With this type of permit, you can only work for the same employer and cannot leave your canton. It is called an initial residence permit because after ten years of living in Switzerland with a B Permit, you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit (Permit C).
(For permanent residence)
You can apply for Swiss permanent residence if you have lived in Switzerland for ten years in a row. Permit C allows you to work for any employer, change jobs whenever you want, and live wherever you want in Switzerland. Permit C is also the only type of Swiss residency permit that allows you to work for yourself.
(For cross-border commuter)
This permit is granted to nationals of EU/EFTA member states who reside in an EU/EFTA member state and work in Switzerland but need return to their main place of residence abroad at least once a week.
If the employment contract is open-ended or for a fixed period of more than one year, this permit is valid for five years.
Obtaining a Work Visa when you are an EU/EFTA Citizen
Since Switzerland has established free movement agreements with the EU and EFTA, individuals from those countries can legally enter Switzerland and stay for up to three months without needing a visa. However, if they intend to stay in Switzerland for more than three months and work, they must apply for the necessary permit. Specifically, a residence permit that allows you to work.
So, while EU/EFTA nationals do not need to apply for a work visa from their home country (or have a job waiting for them) before entering Switzerland, they do need to apply for a residence permit.
Nonetheless, an EU/EFTA citizen has an easier time obtaining a work and/or residence permit than a non-EU/EFTA citizen. This is because there are no quotas limiting the number of EU/EFTA immigrants Switzerland will accept.
Obtaining a Work Visa in Switzerland for Non-EU/EFTA Citizen
After finding a job in Switzerland, the following steps must be taken:
- First, your employer applies for your residence permit through the Swiss cantonal employment services. In Switzerland, there are no separate work permits and residence permits. Instead, you will be given a residence permit that allows you to work.
- Then, your employer can demonstrate to the cantonal authorities that there were no EU/EFTA citizens qualified for the job.
- Local cantonal authorities will review your application and forward it to the Federal Office of Migration (FOM) for approval. When making their decision, the FOM takes into account your language skills, age, and ability to adapt to Swiss culture.
- While your employer applies for your Swiss residence permit, you must apply from your home country for a Swiss work visa (also known as a long-stay or a national visa). To enter Switzerland, most non-EU/EFTA nationals require a long-stay (national) visa.
- The FOM notifies you, your employer, and the cantonal offices when they make a decision on your residence permit. The cantonal offices will notify the Swiss embassy/consulate if the FOM approves your residence permit.
- Your Swiss work visa is issued by the Swiss embassy/consulate in your country.
- You arrive in Switzerland and have 14 days to register with the Residents’ Registry Office via the cantonal migration offices.
- You are granted a Swiss residence permit and are permitted to live and work in Switzerland.
Work Visa Requirements for Non-EU/EFTA Citizen
When applying for a work visa in Switzerland, you must make an appointment with the Swiss representation (embassy/consulate) in your country. The application must be submitted in person, and a non-refundable visa fee must be paid. Documents must be in triplicate when submitted.
The documents required for a Switzerland work visa include:
- Three completed and signed long-stay visa application forms in German, French, Italian, Spanish, or English. You can find them online or, in some cases, at the Swiss embassy/consulate where you are applying.
- A valid passport or travel document with at least two blank pages is required. It must be issued within the last ten years and be valid for at least three months after you plan to leave Switzerland.
- Three copies of your passport’s relevant pages (pages 1-4 and the last page, the page showing the issue and expiry date, copies of all previous visas.)
- Four identical passport-sized photos They must be recent and biometric.
- Your job contract, plus two copies
- Proof of your professional activity.
- Copies of your qualifications (diplomas, certificates, etc.)
- Information about your previous education, such as grades, subjects, and dates of admissions at the university/college.
- Proof that you attempted to find work in another way
- Your curriculum vitae