Have questions? Ask us!

Immigration & Work Permits

Work Permits

Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Switzerland, as established by immigration laws. Switzerland is not an EU-member state so the general rules of EU immigration and visa types will not necessarily apply. However it is a member of the Schengen region, which means there is open access between Switzerland and other Schengen regions (such as Germany, France and Scandinavia).

In any case, especially for non-Europeans, requirements for working and living in Switzerland will generally require a residence permit and application for permission to work, whether as the company director or an employee. Even the representative for a Liaison Office must have a work permit, although the business activities are restricted.

Work permits and visas should be investigated with the local embassy before establishing a business and/or going to Switzerland. If you have yet to complete the incorporation process you can use Shield GEO to sponsor the employee for the necessary permits.

Your Options

Use the Shield GEO Employer of Record Solution

Shield GEO is only able to sponsor B permits for EU nationals. The B permit is for EU nationals with an employment contract for 12 months or longer and who can demonstrate they have the means to live in Switzerland even without employment.

The B permit is valid for 5 years and can then be renewed a further 5 years. It will be applied for in the canton where the employee will be living and working.

It takes 4 to 6 weeks to secure a work permit (B Permit) for Switzerland, and costs $3000 USD through Shield GEO. The employee can commence work immediately whilst the visa process is underway. The employee can be in Switzerland whilst the B Permit is processed. The employees spouse is also able to work on a dependent visa.

Documentation required (Employee): Passport copy, CV, employment contract, copies of tertiary qualifications, proof of local address and marriage certificate (if relevant)

Use your own company

Nationals from European Union or European Free Trade Agreement member states, regardless of their qualifications, are granted easy access to the Swiss labor market. Nationals from other states are admitted in limited numbers, provided that they are well qualified.

Third state nationals may only be admitted if a candidate cannot be recruited from the labor market of Switzerland or another EU/EFTA member state.

The salary, social benefits and terms of employment for foreign workers must be in accordance with conditions customary to the region and the sector.

When submitting an application, the employer must include an employment agreement that has been signed both by the employer and the employee.

With the exception of seconded employees who remain employed by the foreign employer, Swiss employers are obliged to register all employees with the various social security institutions.

Documentation required (Employee):

  • Passport copy
  • CV
  • employment contract
  • copies of tertiary qualifications
  • proof of local address and marriage certificate (if relevant)
  • translated copies of any documents that are not in German, French, Italian, English or Spanish.

Types of visas in Switzerland

Category Description of Visa
L Permit

Available for non-EU nationals and EU/EFTA nationals. The L Permit is for short term work of up to 12 months.

The L Permit is restricted by quota if the duration is longer than 4 months. Permits under 4 months are not restricted by quota. Also if an EU/EFTA worker is on a local CH contract and full Swiss payroll (including social security contributions) their work permit is not restricted by quota. Cantons get a quota entitlement per visa class.

Work permit applications must show they meed educational and work experience requirements, that they will pay an appropriate salary and that no EU/EFTA candidate is available for the position.

You must apply for an entry visa in a Swiss embassy before you arrive in Switzerland, and must read all requirements and make sure you follow these requirements to the letter. Your Swiss employer will obtain the authorisation for the work permit directly from the local cantonal employment service. They will pass the application to the FOM (Federal Office for Migration) who will approve the work permit.

An entry visa will take different times to process depending on the visa type and embassy, which processes the application. Similarly the cost will depend the type of entry visa and country of application. The work permit will be given to you when you arrive in Switzerland. The residents permit must be obtained from the Residents Registry office via the local cantonal migration office within 14 days of arrival in Switzerland.

B Permit

Available for non-EU nationals and EU/EFTA nationals. The B permit is valid for up to 12 months but it is extendable allowing it to cover long term work.

The B Permit is restricted by quota if the duration is longer than 4 months. Permits under 4 months are not restricted by quota. Also if an EU/EFTA worker is on a local CH contract and full Swiss payroll (including social security contributions) their work permit is not restricted by quota. Cantons get a quota entitlement per visa class.

Work permit applications must show they meed educational and work experience requirements, that they will pay an appropriate salary and that no EU/EFTA candidate is available for the position.

You must apply for an entry visa in a Swiss embassy before you arrive in Switzerland, and must read all requirements and make sure you follow these requirements to the letter. Your Swiss employer will obtain the authorisation for the work permit directly from the local cantonal employment service. They will pass the application to the FOM (Federal Office for Migration) who will approve the work permit.

An entry visa will take different times to process depending on the visa type and embassy, which processes the application. Similarly the cost will depend the type of entry visa and country of application. The work permit will be given to you when you arrive in Switzerland. The residents permit must be obtained from the Residents Registry office via the local cantonal migration office within 14 days of arrival in Switzerland.

G Permit

Only available for workers who are commuting or working cross-border.

Switzerland

CONTACT US

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

BACK TO TOP

Join over 1,000 professionals!

Subscribe to our monthly Global Mobility newsletter