Looking for work in Switzerland

Posted on 09 February 2007 by Brucellus

You do not need a residence permit for a maximum three-month stay in Switzerland. If your job search lasts longer than three months (or if you are exporting your unemployment benefits), you have to apply to your commune of stay for a residence permit, which is valid for another three months period, for the purpose of looking for work. These permits are not subject to quotas. In ccordance with the bilateral agreements, they do not entitle you to receive social aid benefits from your host country.

If you’re a non-Western European, you are required to have a current passport with a visa. No foreigner can stay longer than a total of six months in residence per year.

Switzerland does not use the term “work permit” as used elsewhere in Europe. The Swiss residence permit (Aufenthaltsbewilligung, autorisation de séjour), which is difficult to obtain, is a combination residence-work permit. A Swiss residence permit only allows one to live in a particular residence in a particular Canton and to work for only one specified employer. Be aware that change of job, residence, or Canton requires re-application and re-approval. Approval is not guaranteed.

Foreigners are issued a Residence Permit (Auslanderausweis, livret pour étrangers), which must be carried at all times.

If you intend to stay more than three months in Switzerland you need permission from the commune in which you will stay. The delivered residence permit is valid throughout the Swiss territory but you have to inform the communal authorities about an eventual change of your place of residence. The authorisation will be given if: you have sufficient financial means to provide for your own and your family’s needs; you have health and accident insurance coverage during your stay.

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