Work permits in Switzerland

To obtain a Swiss work permit it is necessary to take into consideration certain factors, such as the country of origin of the applicant, their skill level and the Swiss quota system. Switzerland has a dual quota system which allows foreign citizens to work in the country. EU citizens are usually permitted to come to Switzerland for 3 months and look for a job. This period can be extended for up to 6 months. Persons from other jurisdictions can come to work if they already have a work contract with a Swiss employer and obtain a work visa before they are able to enter Switzerland. Receiving a Swiss work permit it not guaranteed just by having work contract. Switzerland prioritizes its domestic employees by applying a separate and well-established quota system.

Citizens from the EU that work only on short term in Switzerland, for no more than 90 days per calendar year don’t have to register with Swiss authorities. It is required to register online for any work activity of more than 8 days per calendar year. It is also mandatory to register online from the first day of work in the case of certain activities. Service providers working as self-employed and persons sent to work in Switzerland by a foreign companies must obtain a work permit if their cross-border activities exceed the period of 3 months per calendar year.

Bulgarian and Romanian citizens must obtain a Swiss work and residence permit before they start working in Switzerland, even if the duration of the employment contract with a company is less than 3 months. These regulations were established for Romania and Bulgaria until 2016, but they were in order until 2017, when Switzerland renegotiated its bilateral agreement with the EU regarding the free movement of people or the termination of the respective agreement.

Non – EU citizens must be aware that the number of non – EU immigrants is limited in Switzerland by a tight quota system, following certain criteria.

It is possible to obtain different types of Swiss permits:

  • Short – term permits are granted to those who work in Switzerland for less than a year, for a period between 3 to 12 months. EU citizens can receive this permit after they live in Switzerland for at least 3 months and are actively looking for employment.
  • Initial residence permits are granted to those who have an employment contract for an unlimited period of time, for at least 12 months. The permits are issued for 5 years, but they can be extended to the extent of the duration of the employment contract. The permits may be limited to one year, if the holder is not employed for more than 12 consecutive months.
  • Permanent residence permits are granted to after an uninterrupted and regular stay in Switzerland of at least 5 years to EU citizens.
  • Cross – border commuters are those who live in Switzerland's border areas and come for work in another border zone in Switzerland. EU citizens are no longer required to obtain a permit if they commute to Switzerland, however, they must return to their country or residence at least on weekly basis.

We are specialized in providing the necessary assistance and support if you want to obtain a work permit in Switzerland. We are also specialized in working with companies seeking to obtain Swiss work permits for their employees, in compliance with the Swiss legislation and work permits regulations.