Working in Switzerland

Switzerland welcomes foreign labour, whether it comes to working in construction, hospitals, banks or other international companies. The Swiss economy is always in demand for labour from abroad. However, one should remember that there are no jobs waiting on the street, i.e. an active effort is needed to get the jobs. The highest chances of getting a job are for people with a solid education and work experience.

Low unemployment in Switzerland
The latest financial stagnation has not only affected the EU countries but also Switzerland. The crisis has led to a transition period of several bankruptcies, reduced working hours and redundancies. Comparing unemployment in Switzerland with the neighbouring countries shows that it is still very low and according to SECO (Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft – SECO) it measures only 3.4% on average. However, statistics also show that the foreigners in Switzerland are the people who are hit the hardest by unemployment, which measures the ratio of 6.7%.

Language proficiency is an advantage
With foreign labour it is expected that you master at least one of the three languages in the country. Depending on the region’s main language, you should be able to speak an intermediate level of German, French or Italian. If you speak more foreign languages, this is obviously a further advantage in a job situation.

Work for EU citizens
The Swiss immigration policy is built around a two sided principle. On one hand, citizens from other EU countries enjoy free access to the Swiss labour market. At the same time there are, on the other hand, restrictions on job seekers from non-EU countries.

After three months you must obtain a residence permit
Since the 1st of June 2007 citizens of the former EFTA countries and the old 17 EU countries do not need a work permit. People from these countries are free to choose their place of work and residence. However, if you work more than three months in Switzerland you must apply for a residence permit. Applications should be submitted to the Einwohnerkontrolle (National Registration Office) before starting working.

If you are looking for a job in Switzerland it is recommended to read the job advertisements in the local newspapers. Just as in other countries, there is a variety of Internet portals where you can search for jobs.

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