Archive | Residency

Tags: BNS, France, Geneva, Germany, housing, immigration workers, Italy, lake leman, lifetime employment, Montreux, prices, property owners, region, resident foreigners, rices in property prices and rent, rising, Romandie, Salaries, Schwytz, seeking jobs, switzerland, trend, urban centers, wave of immigration, Zug

Rising Immigration Causes Rents to Rise in Geneva

Posted on 13 December 2009 by Sprecher

geneva_housingHousing prices across the entire lake leman region, from Geneva to Montreux, are rising eith the influx of foreigners seeking work in the Romandie area. Higher unemployment in neighboring France, Italy, and Germany have resulted in substantial increases immigration of workers seeking jobs in Switzerland. The National Bank of Switzerland (BNS) recently published a study of the trend, linking the wave of immigration to rising property prices and rents. The BNS is one of many government organs or agencies whose federal workers have lifetime employment with indexed salaries.

According to a report by Wuest & Partner, over the past 3 years, rents have risen by more than 10% in Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich. Across all of Switzerland renters appear to have been the most penalized by the trend of rising property prices. In Switzerland only one third of households are property owners.

Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Aigle, Zurich and Lugano are among the 10 regions with the strongest rise in the number of resident foreigners. According to the OFS (the federal bureau of statistics) the trend has accentuated steadily over the past 4 years, with 2008 the year with the largest wave of immigration since statistics were collected. The immigrants came mainly from neighboring European countries.

The BNS however refrained from venturing a precise quantitative relation between the flux of new immigrant workers and the extent of the rise in rents. Rather, they limited their conclusions to anodyne observations on the ineluctable relationship between supply and demand.

The Europeans who have moved to Switzerland over the past several years have occasionally chosen to purchase their lodgings, in which case their purchases have influenced the rising prices of small multifamily houses or villas or apartments.

A percentage of the new immigrants do not seek residence in the urban centers but rather in small tax shelter cantons like Schwytz or Zug. There has been a substantial rise in the already high property prices in Zug resulting from the phenomenon of European immigrants seeking fiscally advantageous domiciles. It has forced a substantial number of indigenous residents out of the town because of the rising prices.

According to the BAK in Basel, the property shortfall in the affected areas will result in a drop of roughly 20% in available properties for purchase or rent, causing further rises in property prices and rents.

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Living in France, Italy, or Germany, but Working in Switzerland

Posted on 15 August 2008 by Hans-T

The workforce of commuting workers who live in neighboring France, Germany, Italy, or Austria but work in Switzerland has grown by nearly 30% over the past 5 years.

There are currently nearly 250,000 foreigners working in Switzerland and living across the border in one of Switizerland’s neighboring countries.

In only the past year, the number of border workers with jobs in Switzerland has risen roughly 6%. Foreigners working in Switzerland but living across the border are hold ‘G’ permits to work in Switzerland.

According to the Federal Office of Statistics, the majority of these workers hold jobs in industry, though a sizable portion occupy jobs in banking or jobs in the luxury watch industry.

The strongest rise in workers living in neighboring countries and commuting to jobs in Switzerland was in the region around lake

Geneva, which rose nearly 60%, followed by the region around Zurich, which rose by 35%. In Ticino, the rise was nearly 30%.

The country distribution of these foreign workers has not changed appreciably in the five year period. Well over half live in France, with approximately 20% living in Italy, another 20% in Germany, and the remainder in Austria.

Foreigners who live in neighboring countries but commute to jobs in Switzerland hold ‘G’ permits. Any citizens from the European Community have a right to such a permit.

The number of such workers in Switzerland has shown a particularly steep rise (+40% from 2003-2008) in the tertiary sector, with the chemical industry showing strong increases (+20%) and medical instruments and precision optics and luxury watchmaking showing increases of roughly 20%.

Europeans also have the right to exercise an independent activity – that is, to be self-employed– in Switzerland. Geneva currently has approximately 500 self-employed professionals who live in Neighboring France. There are somewhere on the order of 100o non-resident independents working at jobs in Switzerland.

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Non – EU Nationals Working in Switzerland

Posted on 25 July 2007 by LegalBeagle

As the implementation of the laws governing foreigners working in Switzerland is constantly evolving, here is a current run-down on obtaining permits for work in Switzerland if you are not an EC / EU national.

On the Swiss labor market, priority is given to Swiss nationals or to resident foreigners who hold residence permits or permits to work in Switzerland.

Permits are granted only if the employer is offering the foreign national the same salary and employment conditions that are in effect for locally recruited staff in the relevant industry and if the foreign national has adequate health insurance.

The employer wishing to obtain a permit for employing a non EU national is required to prove that it has made every possible effort to find qualified candidates on the Swiss and European labor markets. The Cantonal Employment Office has a special application form which companies are required to use to announce vacancies. No permit (for a non EU national) may be applied for until at least 3 weeks has elapsed subsequent to filing such a vacancy notice. During this period the Employment office will seek to present qualified candidates to the company. Because of the penury of highly qualified professionals in information systems, telecommunications, biotechnology, banking and financial technologies, pharmaceutical research, and luxury watchmaking, often for these specific fields international recruitment is the only viable solution for companies.

Foreign nationals holding the annual (B) work permit are required to obtain permission to change their job, profession or canton or to change from employment to self-employment.

When filing a request for a permit for a prospective employee, employers wishing to hire a non EU citizen must provide the following to the government immigration authorities:

1) A description of the job position

2) Proof that they have advertised the position locally, sought staff on the local market and failed to find adequately qualified personnel

3) A filled-out application form for a permit for a non-EU national, specifying the salary of the job (which must be at a ‘specialist’ level – Minimum $65,000/year). A company wishing to relocate executive staff to its Swiss offices is exempt from scrutiny of the job position.

4) Copies of the CV of the individual the company wishes to hire

5) Copies of the diplomas and relevant work certificates of the individual the company wishes to hire

6) Copies of the passport of the individual the company wishes to hire

7) A motivation letter from the company explaining why they want a permit for this individual

Obviously, large multinationals who have substantial weight on the national labor market– such as the banks, agro-industrials, pharmaceutical companies and research institutes, hospitals, luxury watch companies – have, as a rule, little trouble obtaining the permits they request. Therefore, when offered a job, which is obviously contingent on authorization of the company’s permit request, you can start packing your bags if the company is UBS, Nestle, Credit Suisse, Novartis or MerckSerono, but you may want to wait prudently if the company seeking to hire you is XYZ Export company with only 8 employees.

On the basis of an authorization to work in Switzerland the foreign national then applies for the specific entry visa at the Swiss consulate or embassy of his residence and picks up his work permit upon entering Switzerland. The entering foreigner must have his visa stamped by the immigration officers at the border.

Failure to do this can result in being required to exit and reenter Switzerland !

A Summary of the myriad permits for work in Switzerland is found below:

B PERMIT (Ausländerausweis) — this is a long term permit subject to quotas (Aufenthaltbewilligung mit Erwerbstätigkeit)
Issued for ‘Economic interests’ based on Employee qualifications
Priority for Swiss and European Union workers
Compliance with local employment conditions
Availability of quota
Renewable until granting of settlement C permit after 10 years (USA + Canada 5 years)

B PERMIT — short term and also subject to quota (Kurzaufenthaltbewilligung)
Issued for ‘Important projects’ or International joint programs
For sports figures
Issued for up to 3 years, potentially even up to 6 years in certain cases

B PERMIT for Residency (Aufenthaltbewilligung im Rahmen des Familiennachzugs)
A long term permit not subject to quota
Based on family grouping, or change of employer, profession or canton
Renewable and Can be converted into a C Permit

L PERMIT — Short term permit not subject to Quota
(für die Ausübung einer kurzfristigen Erwerbstätigkeit sowie für andere vorübergehende Aufenthalte)
For training, project work, setting up Information systems or other technical infrastructures, fiduciary review, extra labor in a busy period, start-ups, etc. Also Management and development of a company when the presence of a manager is not required all year. Ususally for 4 consecutive months — known as a 120 – day permit.
Also for young people employed as au pairs, aged 18 to 30 years : Canadian, USA, Australian and New Zealand nationals (30 hrs/wk), young workers qualified as health professionals and trained abroad who wish to develop their professional skills
Renewable up to a maximum of 24 months
For Cabaret dancers and other artists (Form A7) renewable up to maximum 8 months in a calendar year

G PERMIT for Border workers for commuting to work in Switzerland (für Grenzgängerinnen und Grenzgänger)
For third countries workers under specific circumstances; residence is not in Switzerland
Valid for 1 year, Renewable

N PERMIT for asylum seekers (für Asylsuchende. Dieser Ausweis wird von den kantonalen Behörden gestützt auf den Entscheid des Bundesamtes für Migration ausgestellt)
Foreign nationals, who during the time their asylum application are being processed are permitted to seek temporary employment until a ruling is given on their application

F PERMIT for temporary admission (für vorläufig aufgenommene Ausländerinnen und Ausländer (Art. 14a ANAG, Art. 5 VVWA). Dieser Ausweis wird von den kantonalen Behörden gestützt auf eine Verfügung des Bundesamtes für Migration ausgestellt.)
This work permit is for foreign nationals who do not qualify for asylum; it’s renewable.

Ci PERMIT (Dieser Ausweis wird von den kantonalen Behörden für erwerbstätige Ehepartner und Kinder von Angehörigen ausländischer Vertretungen oder intergouvernementaler Organisationen (IO) ausgestellt.)
This is the work permit for the spouse of an employee of an international organisation. The spouse must be living in the family unit. Also valid for children under 21 years.

C PERMIT – permanent residency — this is what the other permits usually turn into if you reside in Switzerland long enough.

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Questions from our readers

Posted on 09 June 2007 by LegalBeagle

Following are some questions from our readers concerning procedures and experiences for obtaining residence or permission to work in Switzerland. Please address all questions to

??? I am granted a student visa to attend a Masters program in Switzerland. With this kind of permit, I have to leave Switzerland after the end of the program. What if I find a job? Does this type or permission mean that I can’t even search for a job, because I will be forced to leave Switzerland anyway?

LB: In fact it does – or rather: it did– but you won’t be forced to leave because by June 1st 2007, as an EU citizen, you have a right to a work permit and to stay and work in Switzerland. So complete your academic course and while you are studying look for a Swiss job. All the employers know of the changes and the impact these changes will have and will be willing to employ you if they are interested in your credentials.

jobs in Switzerland

??? My employer has just offered to relocate me to Zurich. At this time I am working for the same company but at the US headquarters. I am Turkish and hold neither US citizen nor EU citizenship. I have a BA in economics (Turkish University) and 3 years of fulltime work experience in finance in the USA. What are my chances to get a work permit in Switzerland ?

LB: To get a permit to work in Switzerland, it helps enormously if:

> you are educated
> a company already wants to employee you

You are likely to get a permit to work in Switzerland. The company wishing to employ you will have to prove that they have looked in Switzerland for a person with the same qualifications as you. They should show that they put advertisements in the local newspaper or on Budget about 4 months for the company to obtain the work permit from the time they start the paperwork.

??? I am setting up a company (GmBh) in Switzerland and I am planning to use an agency to do this for me. Part of the deal is that they are going to apply for my Swiss residence permit on my behalf as the owner of the Swiss business. My friend, acting as Director, will have to sign the application for my Swiss working permit.

The agency quoted me 4,700 Euros for the service, which is about 8000 Swiss francs. Is that too high? Are there any other companies you know who provides the service of obtaining a permit to work in Switzerland?

LB: Agencies charge for basically putting your name on the templates and sending off the forms.

You can start a company in Switzerland yourself for under CHF 1800. Many accountants will do this for you. The notary fees are under CHF 1000 in Fribourg. Handelsregister and notary fees are unavoidable. An accountant or fiduciary or a notary’s office draws up the legal documents to incorporate a Swiss company and a notary ultimately registers them. An Swiss S.a.r.l. costs about CHF 2000 to set up and an SA a bit more. The S.a.r.l. only requires a CHF 20,000 funds guarantee while the SA –which is essentially a private bearer-shares company—requires a minimum CHF 100,000 funds guarantee. The set-up fees are the monies that actually leave your pocket.
An SA, on average, costs about CHF 4000 to set up. An SA has to be audited, so the yearly accounting fees (assuming you will be paying for outside accountancy) are higher.

The bottom line is, these fees being what they are, you can employ yourself in a Euro 50,000 / year job, thereby obtain a permit to work in Switzerland, and these set up and maintenance fees will not matter on the scale of things.

You can look on for checklists and guidance for gmbh in English or on the Swiss government website.

??? I have been in Switzerland for 2 months. I don’t need a visa to be here – I am South African– but have read on the Swiss Immigration website, that I am only able to stay here for 3 months, and then I have to leave.

Does anyone have any experience with how the “leaving switzerland for 1 month” thing works? Is it necessary? I don’t want to get in trouble as its really important that I am here for the next period of 3 months…

LB: That is correct: three months, then one month break, then three months, to a maximum of six months per year. And if you don’t leave, they will deport you.

Its the law, and while it is not always applied, they do selectively apply it. To stay longer than a twice three-month tourist stay, one needs a residence permit to actually live in Switzerland, a opposed to visiting or touring. So you overstay at your own risk, which can result in the authorities stamping your passport with your overstay and rendering your travel to third countries more difficult.

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New rules for Working in Switzerland

Posted on 20 May 2007 by LegalBeagle

Beginning June 1st, 2007, the bilateral agreement on labor markets and the free movement of workers concluded between Switzerland and the European Union stipulates the removal of remaining restrictions on access to the Swiss labor market for nationals of the 15 core members of the EU, the AELE (Norvège, Islande et Liechtenstein), and Malte and Cyprus, and therefore the fully free access to employment in Switzerland for the nationals of the European Union.

The only remaining obligation for EU nationals seeking to work in Switzerland will be to announce their arrival in the country at the Office de la population in the commune where they will live. The commune then automatically issues the work permit.

Currently, the cantonal authorities can theoretically refuse to issue a work permit if the quota of EU nationals was exceeded for the year. Up until May 31, 2011, for nationals of Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, different

treatment will be applied, with permits being allocated on a contingency basis and priority given to workers already on the Swiss labor market.

Nationals from outside the European Union will not have the right to work as a n independent but will have the option to be a salaried employee of their own company. As a salaried employee, such nationals can first of all look for work in Switzerland from a Swiss employer. The work permit will be requested from the Swiss employer under the form of an L permit (which is for a short stay, accorded when the employment contract is concluded for less than one year) or a B permit (if the employment contract is for an indeterminate period).

To obtain an authorization to work in Switzerland, your skill set will be an important factor in the delivery of a work permit. It is important to have acquired a professional experience during one’s studies in your professional domain. Especially for Non-EU nationals, who are subject to scrutiny before delivery of a work permit, this will raise the likelihood of the delivery of a work permit.

If you wish to create your own company, you can obtain a work permit, becoming a salaried employee of your won company. The company must be an ‘SA’ and may not be an S.a.r.l., which requires less capitalization. (An SA usually requires a capitalization of CHF 100,000, but there are ways to reduce this.

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Studying or Working in Swiss Schools …

Posted on 12 March 2007 by info

Since it is possible to visit Switzerland with a 3-month tourist visa in order to look for employment, many people seek work in switzerland or Swiss study opportunities while touring.

To the candidate thinking of selecting a school while visiting Switzerland on a tourist visa: as a rule, the best institutions are those which have been established longest. The oldest institutions are often the best organized, have the most interesting student bodies and the best working conditions.

Hotel Schools
There are many schools that are not regulated and/or do not meet international standards. A short-list of well-established Swiss schools can be found on the website of the Swiss Hotel Schools Association (ASEH).

One advantage to studying (or working) in a Swiss Hotel School is that you will doubtless develop a seasoned palette for a variety of international cuisines. In the work and study environment of the Swiss hospitality industry, one can expect to experience a wide variety of world cuisines as well as meet a wide selection of international students. Meeting people from around the world is part of the fun of studying at a Swiss Hotel School.

Boarding Schools
There are a great many famous private boarding schools, which are oriented to students between the ages of 10 – 20 years old. These schools offer a solid educational preparation for university study. Many of the alumni go on to important achievements in business or politics. Of course, many of the students already come from renowned familiesin entertainment, business, or government. To pursue information about boarding school, see the: Swiss Federation of Private Schools (SFPS), Hotelgasse 1, Postfach 245, CH-3000 Bern 7, Tel. +41-31-328 4050 Fax. +41-31-328 4045, E-mail: Website: There are over 250 schools under the SPFS umbrella, including the most venerable in the country. SPFS gives neutral, objective information on the various school programs and will help you find a suitable school.

Language Schools
There are innumerable language schools as well as language programs at the many Swiss universities. There are also summer and winter camps offering language instruction. tThe best source of information for these is the:
Swiss Federation of Private Schools (SFPS), Hotelgasse 1, Postfach 245, CH-3000 Bern 7, Tel. +41-31-328 4050 Fax. +41-31-328 4045, E-mail: Website:

Living in Switzerland
Keep in mind that living expenses for a student in Switzerland are on the order of about CHF 2000 / month

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Being Self-Employed in Switzerland

Posted on 09 March 2007 by Fixer

The conditions for being self-employed are that you must either have a permanent residence permit known a s a ‘C’ permit (some cantonal governments have granted the right to be self-employed to certain ‘B’ permit holders.) You must have an annual income of at least CHF 50 000, and an economic activity that is not protected in Switzerland. or live in the country for a minimum of 180 days a year.

It is not easy to start up a business in Switzerland; you must be organised and persistent. The authorities review your proposition carefully and are usually concerned about what your business will contribute to the local community so the more convincing you are the easier it becomes.

There are two types of companies that exist; one is the small to medium sized companies which cover 99% of the economy and employ 1.45 million people. The other is big multi-nationals which often do not to sell much inside the country but have substantial revenues trading world-wide.

work from your swiss villaThere are two kinds of businesses set up in Switzerland which are public and private companies and in these two categories there are five types:

* Private limited liability companies
* Partnerships
* Joint stock companies
* General Partnerships
* Sole Proprietorships

Since 2002, EU passport holders have had the right to sSelf-employment in Switzerland. Before that time, the privilege was reserved for C permits-holders and the Swiss and all others had to be salaried – though they could always start their own company if they wanted and employ themselves.

Now any EU passport holder can exercise an independent activity in Switzerland as long as:
The sector of activity is not a special protected sector (for example, it is not allowed to be a notary public), revenue exceeds SF 50,000, and residence in Switzerland is at least 180 days. Write us ( info@ ) if you would like us to post further information about this.

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Residence in Switzerland – The Celebrity Fast Lane

Posted on 11 February 2007 by LegalBeagle

If you are very wealthy or a celebrity, there is a special fast-lane available for you. Numerous celebrities have chosen to make Switzerland their residence for tax reasons, as well as for the quality of life, the safety and stability of the country, the low criminality, and its ideal environment for raising children, as well as the culture of respect for people’s private life.

If you are rich or a celebrity, it doesn’t really matter what your country of origin is, you can obtain a Swiss residence permit when you invest in a Swiss company. This route is often taken by sports professionals (like formula 1 pilot Schumacher), rich businessmen whose businesses are elsewhere or who have sold their companies, actors, singers or diverse retirees.

In order to qualify for this procedure, you need to invest at least CHF 500′000 in a company in the canton in which you intend to reside. It is not sufficient to simply deposit 500k in a local Swiss bank account or invest such an amount stock of a publically traded Swiss company. It is necessary that the your investment helps the local economy and contributes to creating jobs.

Also, you usually need to demonstrate some kind of links with Switzerland, whether those links be friends, family, or sometimes regular travel. If you are an international celebrity, these ‘links’ become less important to the Authorities issuing the residence permit.

However, in principle, under this process it is necessary to reside in Switzerland for the majority of the year. Exceptions are possible as long as they are in good faith. This said, it is normally not possible to use this procedure and then live most of the year elsewhere only coming to Switzerland now and then for a few weeks of vacation.

Under this program, you receive a B permit renewable each year. The B permit gives you the rigth to live in Switzerland with your family – that is : wife and children under 18. You also have the right to buy real estate for your personal use and also obtain the right to be taxed under the much more advantageous lump-sum formula.

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