Immigration. Travel. Living.

Getting an employment visa: Work Permit in Switzerland

In Switzerland, obtaining a work permit or an employment visa has grown increasingly complex. Non-EU/EFTA nationals planning to live and work in Switzerland should be aware that the Swiss government has imposed permission quotas, limiting the number of permits available each year. Expats must wait another year to apply for a permit once the quota is filled.

A residence permit is required for anyone staying in Switzerland for more than 90 days. It might be difficult to identify which visa your employees require, with options ranging from short- and long-term residence permits, special work permits, and self-employment visas. Furthermore, the time spent learning how to obtain a work visa in Switzerland is time that may be better spent expanding your business.

Types of work visas in Switzerland

Before you and your employees decide which Switzerland work visa is ideal for your purposes, you should be aware that nationality affects the requirements. European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) citizens encounter fewer barriers and are not subject to foreign labor quotas.

Your employees are essentially applying for a Schengen visa when they apply for a Swiss visa. Employees can travel to any Schengen country using this document. EU/EFTA citizens can apply for one of the following choices if you hire them:

Permit L 

Short-term residents who plan to stay in Switzerland for less than a year should apply for this permit. Applicants must have a contract of employment that is valid for three to twelve months, and the visa will be for the same period.

Permit B

Expats who plan to stay in Switzerland for more than a year can apply for a B permit if they have a 12-month employment contract.

Permit G

A G permit is available to cross-border commuters who work in Switzerland but reside in another EU/EFTA country. At least once a week, they must return to their primary house.

Requirements to obtain Switzerland work visas

In 2015, Switzerland made it more difficult to obtain a work permit or work visa. Since then, the country has imposed limitations on the number of permits it can issue each year. If the quota is filled, would-be ex-pats will have to wait another year to apply for a visa. Because Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons, or member states, the criteria differ depending on where you are.

Non-EU/EFTA citizens are subjected to a slew of additional criteria. Non-Swiss nationals, for example, must be proficient and literate in the prevalent language of their canton. The more time someone plans to spend in the country, the more fluent they must be in the language. If your employees are requesting a B permit and do not know all four official languages, they must produce proof of enrollment in a language course.

Other prerequisites and qualifications include:

  • Working in a specialized job
  • A bachelor’s degree from a university or a similar institution of higher learning
  • Professional work experience of several years
  • Evidence of a desire to advance professionally and socially while in the nation
  • A filled-out application form
  • Two photographs for your passport
  • Copy of previous visas and original passport
  • Two blank passport pages

Employers must also meet specific conditions. To begin, you must demonstrate that you were unable to find a suitable Swiss native to fill your post. You must also explain why you have the job opening and provide documentation that it was marketed to Swiss people. It’s also a good idea to compare your predicted pay and social security contributions to the average salary and perks in your canton and industry.

Application process

Much of Switzerland’s government decision-making is delegated to the cantons. The application process and fees vary depending on the canton and the employee’s home country. A work permit in Switzerland costs roughly 100 CHF ($100) on average. The application form for your specific canton authority can be found on the websites of the cantons.

Because Switzerland employs a quota system, applications will be evaluated based on a set of criteria. This covers the applicant’s age, knowledge of the local and foreign languages, and aspirations to adjust to Swiss culture.

Other important points to consider

If your employees have family in Switzerland, they may wish to bring them as well. They’ll require Swiss citizenship or a permanent residence visa to do so. They can then sponsor their family members with the canton’s approval. Your entire family is welcome to visit Switzerland for the same amount of time as your employee.

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