Employment in Switzerland

Regulations

What are the regulations for working in Switzerland?

Self-employment

EU-17/EU-8 and EFTA nationals are entitled to exercise a self-employed occupation in Switzerland. In order to do so, they must report to the local authorities and apply for a residence permit for self-employed persons. If they can prove that they actually intend to exercise a self-employed occupation which enables them to cover their own needs, they will be granted a residence permit for five years.

Note: Self-employed persons who are no longer able to cover their own needs and apply for welfare assistance lose their entitlement to residence. Thus applies to all self-employed persons from EU/EFTA countries.

Self-employed persons from Bulgaria and Romania

Romanians and Bulgarians are entitled to exercise a self-employed occupation. In order to do so, they must report to the local authorities and apply for a residence permit. If they can prove that they actually intend to exercise a self-employed occupation which enables them to cover their own needs, they will be granted a residence permit for five years. There are only a restricted number of permanent and short-term residence permits available for self-employed persons until 2011. This number may not be exhausted.

Working without a permit

You are forbidden to exercise gainful employment in Switzerland without a permit. Do not therefore accept a job before you are sure of receiving a work permit. You may be fined if you work without a permit. And don’t forget that you will not receive any welfare benefits without a permit!

Your employer must also comply with the regulations of the Federal Act on Measures to Combat Illegal Employment – he may also be punished.

Service workers from EU-17, EU-8 and EFTA countries

Nationals from EU-17, EU-8 and EFTA countries are entitled to provide permit free services for up to 90 working days per person and calendar year. There is, however, an obligation to report to the authorities. As a rule, this may be done online.

Note: Until April 30th, 2011, EU-8 nationals who would like to work in one of the four following branches require a short-term residence permit. This must be requested from the competent migration authorities:

– Main and subsidiary construction sectors

– Plants and horticulture

– Industrial and company cleaning

– Surveillance and security services

The relevant short-term residence permit is required from the first working day. These persons must therefore report to the competent authorities beforehand.

Service workers from Bulgaria and Romania

Nationals from Bulgaria and Romania are entitled to provide permit-free services for up to 90 working days per person and calendar year. There is, however, an obligation to report to the authorities, which may be done online. Note: Nationals from Bulgaria and Romania who would like to work in one of the four following branches require a short-term residence permit from the first working day. This must be requested from the competent migration authorities:

– Main and subsidiary construction sectors

– Plants and horticulture

– Industrial and company cleaning

– Surveillance and security services

These admission restrictions may be upheld until 2016.

Important addresses

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)

Labour Directorate

Effingerstrasse 31

3003 Berne/Switzerland

www.job-area.ch 

www.eures.ch 

Federal Office for Migration (FOM)

Emigration and Trainees

Quellenweg 6

3003 Berne-Wabern/Switzerland

www.bfm.admin.ch 


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