FAQ – Frequently asked questions

EURES Switzerland Services

Can EURES Switzerland help me find a job in Switzerland?
EURES Switzerland does not provide staffing services.

However, available vacancies in Switzerland can be consulted in the Jobseekers section (direct link: https://www.job-room.ch, available in GE/FR/IT) of our website.

We also recommend that you register with private staffing agencies: http://www.avg-seco.admin.ch, available in GE/FR/IT).

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide you with a list of employers, but you can search for jobs by linguistic region using the links below.

Can EURES Switzerland help me find a job in EU/EFTA countries?

EURES Switzerland does not provide staffing services.

You can visit our website at www.eures.ch/en/jobseu/information/ for general information on living and working in EU/EFTA countries.

Visit the EURES portal at https://ec.europa.eu/ ffor job vacancies in all EU/EFTA countries.

EURES advisers are available in each EU/EFTA country to provide more specific answers according to your personal circumstances (https://ec.europa.eu/eures/eures-apps/um/page/public?lang=en#/adviser/search/list). The EURES advisers of the country you wish to work in can provide guidance on how to compile job applications that are sensitive to the particular business culture.

For more information, please contact the EURES adviser for your canton.www.eures.ch/en/what/contacts/ .

Can EURES Switzerland help me prepare my curriculum vitae?

EURES Switzerland does not help candidates prepare their curriculum vitae. However, the following link provides useful information on how to put together a successful job application in Switzerland. http://www.eures.ch/en/downloads/brochures/tipp/.

Where can I obtain official recognition of my professional qualifications?
EURES Switzerland does not offer any services related to the recognition of foreign qualifications.

The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) evaluates professional qualifications and issues equivalency certificates. For more information, visit www.sbfi.admin.ch/sbfi/en/home/topics/recognition-of-foreign-qualifications.html.


Residence permits

On 9 February 2014, the popular initiative "Stop mass immigration" was approved by referendum. Can I still work in Switzerland?

Yes,as the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) is still in effect. The Federal Council has three years from the time of the referendum to introduce a new quota system for foreign workers. Until this new law takes effect, the rights of EU/EFTA nationals remain unchanged.

Do I have to secure a job before coming to Switzerland, or can I look for one after arriving ?

EU-27 (excluding Croatia)/EFTA nationals can search for a job after arriving in Switzerland. No permit is required for stays of less than three months. If no job is found within this time, the municipal or cantonal authorities will issue a short-term residence permit (EU/EFTA L permit) for the following three months.

EU-2 nationals (Bulgarians and Romanians) who would like to work in Switzerland are subject to current transitional provisions, namely the priority of the domestic workforce, salary and employment conditions, and a quota. A work and residence permit is always required for EU-2 nationals to work in Switzerland.

Work and residence permits must be issued by the appropriate cantonal employment authorities. Please refer to the questions under "Taking up residence and gainful employment").

I would like to work in Switzerland. How do I obtain a work permit?

For EU-27 (excluding Croatia)/EFTA nationals, your residence permit doubles as your work permit. However, this permit is only issued if you have a contractual statement from your employer or an employment contract. FAQ SEM: "Taking up residence and gainful employment").

I have found a job in Switzerland. What must I do to obtain a residence permit?
EU-27 (excluding Croatia)/EFTA

Employment for less than three months

EU-27/EFTA nationals working in Switzerland for no longer than three months per calendar year do not require a permit. However, they must still register with authorities through their employer. Additional information on registration.
Link to the registration:Notification procedures

Employment for more than three months

EU-27/EFTA nationals must register with municipal authorities at their place of residence and apply for a residence permit within 14 days of arrival, before beginning their jobYou must show a valid identification card or passport as well as a valid contractual statement or employment contract signed by the employer, indicating the employment duration and work-time percentage. Depending on the employment duration, authorities will issue a short-term residence permit (EU/EFTA L permit for periods of four months to 364 days) or a regular residence permit (EU/EFTA B permit for periods of one year or more).

You may begin the process for obtaining a residence permit once you have arrived in Switzerland. For information on the customs formalities required when importing your personal belongings, please visit the following page: Swiss Customs Administration

FAQ SEM.

Romania and Bulgaria (EU-2)

Employment with Swiss employer

Please note that, from June 1 2017 and for a year, Swiss and EU-25/EFTA nationals are given priority over you. This means employers must try to fill vacant positions with Swiss or EU-25/EFTA nationals before they can consider your application. If you are indeed hired, it is the employer's responsibility to apply for a work permit on your behalf from the relevant cantonal authorities
(Cantonal labour market authorities). To do so, your employer will be required to submit your employment contract.

Authorities base their decisions on the current transitional provisions regarding the following points:

  • Priority of domestic workforce:
    The employer must demonstrate that the position could not be filled with an equivalent candidate already authorised to work in Switzerland.
  • Salary and employment conditions:
    The contractual provisions must meet the conditions customary for the region and sector.
  • Quota:
    Only a limited number of permits are available. No permit will be granted if the quota has been filled.

If all of the above conditions are met, the permit may be granted. Please note, however, you are not automatically entitled to a permit. EU-2 nationals must have a work/residence permit to begin working for a Swiss employer. No exceptions will be made.

FAQ SEM: www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/themen/fza_schweiz-eu-efta/eu-efta_buerger_schweiz/faq.html.

As a Croatian national, can I work in Switzerland?

Croatia's entry into the EU on 1 July 2013 has no bearing on the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the EU. The extension of the AFMP to Croatia was negotiated in protocol III, which came into force on 1 January 2017. During the first implementation period, special transitory measures with quotas and restrictions regarding the access to the labour market are applied on Croatian nationals.

More information regarding the admission of Croatian nationals in the factsheet "Croatia".
Press Release of 16 December 2016
Procedure

I am not a European national, but I have a residence permit for an EU/EFTA country. Do I need a work permit in Switzerland?

Yes, you still need a work permit even if you have an EU/EFTA residence permit. This requirement is based on your nationality. The admission of foreign workers into Switzerland is governed by a two-tier system. While EU/EFTA nationals can take advantage of the benefits of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP), Switzerland only admits a limited number of workers from other countries, all of which are managers, specialists or other highly skilled personnel.

Third-state nationals are only admitted if the position cannot be filled by applicants from the Swiss or EU/EFTA labour markets. Priority is given to Swiss nationals, foreigners residing permanently in Switzerland, foreigners with a residence permit obtained for employment purposes and any national of countries party to the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons (currently the EU and EFTA). The employer must prove that he/she was unable to find a suitable candidate among the priority groups listed above despite his/her best efforts.

For more information, please visit the following pages:

Work: Legal basis for access to the Swiss labour market by foreign nationals
Entry: State Secretariat for Migration
FAQ – Frequently asked questions - SEM

A Swiss employer has asked me to send copies of my documents as well as money for residence permit fees. What should I do?

For EU-27 nationals

Always exercise caution when an employer contacts you by email requesting that you send copies of your identity papers and money for a residence permit. It could be a scam. In general, the employee must apply for his/her residence permit in person at the appropriate cantonal office. For a job lasting less than three months per year, it is the employer's responsibility to complete the registration procedure. Registration is usually free of charge. If any fees are incurred, they must be paid by the employer.

In any case, never give anyone your passport or identity card, and do not email copies of your passport or identity card without first verifying with EURES Switzerland or a Swiss trade union that the company is trustworthy.

For EU-2 nationals (Romania and Bulgaria)

Unlike EU-27 nationals, EU-2 nationals cannot apply for a work permit themselves. Rather, their employer must go to the appropriate cantonal authorities and apply on their behalf. This involves an application fee, which your employer may ask you to cover. For your protection, we recommend that you send the money only after you have received your work permit. If you have doubts about the amount you are being asked to pay, please contact EURES Switzerland or a Swiss trade union.

Unemployment insurance

I am a Swiss national living in the EU, and I have lost my job. Am I entitled to Swiss unemployment benefits?

If you return to Switzerland without first registering with the unemployment authorities of the country in which you were last employed, you will not be entitled to unemployment benefits in Switzerland. You can request European form PDU1 to certify your periods of employment in the EU country. If you remain unemployed in Switzerland, these periods can be added to any employed periods in Switzerland.

However, if you registered with the unemployment authorities of the country in which you were last employed and, as a result, receive unemployment benefits from them, , you can import these benefits to Switzerland. This requires European form PDU2. Benefits can be imported to Switzerland from EU countries for three to six months, depending on the EU country.

For more information, please contact the public employment services of the country in which you were last employed.

I am an EU national with an employment contract in Switzerland for less than one year. Am I entitled to unemployment benefits if I stay in Switzerland once my contract expires?

You may be. To receive unemployment benefits in Switzerland, you must prove that you were employed for at least 12 months. Although your job in Switzerland is less than a full year, you may still be able to meet this requirement. You can request European form PDU1 in the EU country where you worked before coming to Switzerland. This form certifies your periods of employment in that country, which will be added to the periods worked in Switzerland. If the total meets or exceeds 12 months, you are eligible for unemployment benefits in Switzerland.

For more information, please visit www.treffpunkt-arbeit.ch/publikationen/broschueren (available in GE/FR/IT).

I am an EU national living in Switzerland. My employment contract expires next month and I would like to return to my country of origin. What do I have to do?

If you return to your country of origin without first registering with Swiss unemployment authorities, you will not be entitled to unemployment benefits. You can request European form PDU1 from a Swiss unemployment office, which will certify your periods of employment in Switzerland. If you remain unemployed in your country of origin, these periods can be added to any periods during which you were previously employed there.

However, if you registered with Swiss unemployment authorities and, as a result, receive Swiss unemployment benefits, you can import these benefits to your country of origin. This requires European form PDU2. Swiss unemployment benefits can be exported to an EU country for a maximum of three months.

For more information, please visit: http://www.treffpunkt-arbeit.ch/publikationen/broschueren(available in GE/FR/IT).

Health insurance

Is health insurance mandatory in Switzerland?

Yes, health insurance is mandatory in Switzerland.

You must have health insurance if:

  • You are domiciled in Switzerland, regardless of nationality. Health insurance must be obtained for each member of the family, adult or child. There is no collective family coverage
  • You have a residence permit for three months or longer
  • You work in Switzerland for less than three months and your health insurance at home does not meet Swiss requirements
  • You are a Swiss or EU/EFTA national working in Switzerland, and you are domiciled in the EU, Iceland or Norway. This also applies to unemployed members of your family
  • You are a Swiss or EU/EFTA national receiving a Swiss pension only, and you are domiciled in the EU, Iceland or Norway. This also applies to unemployed members of your family
  • You are receiving unemployment benefits in Switzerland, and you travel to an EU/EFTA country for three months in search of a job
  • You are temporarily posted abroad by your Swiss employer. You are required to have Swiss health insurance for the duration of your posting. Additional instructions are provided in the information material on social security

For more information, please visit the site of the Federal Office of Public Health, Health insurance, the Essentials in Brief .

Taxes

I am an EU/EFTA national who will be living and working in Switzerland. How do I pay my taxes?

Foreign workers without a permit C (permanent residence permit) are subject to withholding tax. All others file an ordinary tax return as per the usual procedure.

Withholding tax is taken directly from the foreign worker's income, usually through a payroll deduction by the employer. This applies to:

  • Foreign workers who are resident in Switzerland for tax purposes but who do not have a permanent residence permit (permit C)
  • Foreign workers who are not resident in Switzerland for tax purposes but whose income is derived from employment in Switzerland (cross-border commuters, weekend commuters, lecturers, athletes, artists, etc.)
  • In addition, foreign workers domiciled in Switzerland must file a full income and wealth tax return for the preceding year if their annual income exceeds CHF 120,000.

    The withholding tax rate varies from canton to canton. For more information, please contact the appropriate cantonal administration (available in GE/FR/IT).

    Employers

    I run a business in Switzerland and would like to post an employee in an EU/EFTA country for a few months. What do I have to do?

    Under certain conditions, employees temporarily posted to another country are still subject to the social security laws of the sending country. For more information, please refer to the brochures Social Security for Posted Workers between Switzerland and the EU (in German, French or Italian) and and Social Security for Posted Workers between Switzerland and the EFTA (in German, French or Italian).

    I run a business in the EU/EFTA and would like to post an employee to Switzerland for a few months. What do I have to do?

    Information on postings is available online at www.détachement.ch (available in GE/FR/IT) and Posted workers . Both Swiss and foreign employers will find details on employment and salary conditions in Switzerland and its various cantons, along with web addresses and useful links.

    How does Switzerland define illegal employment?

    There is no absolute legal definition of illegal employment. It is generally understood to be salaried or self-employed work that violates legal stipulations. This can range from small-scale artisanal work performed outside of business hours to exclusive, illegal employment that evades tax, social security, anti-trust and especially foreigners-rights laws. The various forms of illegal employment usually exist to avoid taxes either fully or partially.

    The Federal Act on Measures to Combat Illegal Employment (IEA), in effect since 1 January 2008, enables cantonal watchdogs to enforce more effectively various laws on taxes, social security charges and foreigners' rights, to name a few. It also sanctions violations more severely.

    For more information on penalties and sanctions, please visit
    www.sem.admin.ch >Labour / Work permits >Illegal employment (available in GE/FR/IT).
    www.seco.admin.ch, illegal employment(available in GE/FR/IT).

    Cross-border commuters

    Who can apply for a cross-border commuter permit?

    Cross-border commuters are EU/EFTA nationals living in their country of citizenship and working in Switzerland as salaried employees or self-employed individuals with a Swiss-registered business. They must return to their primary residence (outside Switzerland) at least once a week. Cross-border commuters who remain in Switzerland during the week must register with the municipality of their secondary residence. Cross-border permits are issued by the cantonal authorities of the place of work. EU-27/EFTA nationals are no longer restricted to border zones. They may live in any EU/EFTA country and work anywhere in Switzerland. However, EU-2 nationals (Bulgarians and Romanians) must live and work within a border zone.

    Cantonal labour market authorities
    Factsheet on cross-border commuters (French)

    I am a cross-border commuter working in Switzerland. Whom can I contact with my questions?

    If you are or would like to become a cross-border commuter, please visit www.eures.ch/fr/jobsch/info_grenzgaenger (available in DE/FR/IT) to obtain the necessary information.