Moving to Switzerland

Like any European country, Switzerland has seen an increase in the unemployment rate over the last decade.

Service provision in Switzerland is very developed and consists of banking and insurance services; Switzerland is Europe’s hub for international corporate transactions. Other major industries include metal processing, mechanical constructions, watch manufacture, also chemical industries, food processing, personal care products and luxury items.

Agriculture consists of livestock farming and dairy products. Cheese production and export, grain processing and fruit growing are an important part of Switzerland’s trade. Switzerland has an important tourist industry, which employs many non-Swiss citizens. It also has world-renowned organized skiing areas, it has mountains with natural beauty without forgetting the multinational organizations based in Geneva and Lausanne such as the UNO and EFTA, the International Red Cross, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization.

Job search

One of the difficulties for a foreigner if he thinks the prospective of relocation to Switzerland looking for a job is that under Swiss law, unlike the EU and EEA, legislation in which Switzerland does not participate, work priority is given to Swiss citizens or those who have a residence permit on of course. When opportunities for foreigners arise, they usually arise in a number of professional sectors, such as banks and insurance, tourism, medical professions and some international organizations. Some international organizations usually hire outside of Switzerland and this is done for the recruitment of qualified executives and prestige of the company.

The public employment agency is not looking to find employment for non-Swiss citizens and it is suggested to anyone wishing to find a job in Switzerland to start the process from their homeland before moving.

Job search options include communication with Swiss companies or international organizations, or the use of specialist recruitment agencies and recruiters.

Part-time positioning (An pair position)

If you are between the ages of 18 and 30 and want to improve your language skills, you can stay in Switzerland in a job placement (usually for a period of 6-18 months) – babysitting experience is required for this type of employment, but you are entitled to 4 hours of weekly language learning donation to a school or institute, while living and working in a Swiss family. The residence permit is usually requested by the family who wants to hire you and is sent to you before you enter Switzerland.

Employers usually offer full accommodation and a salary of at least EUR 300 per month (varies from region to region). To find an au-pair place in Switzerland, you need to get information from newspapers and publications or register with a special office in your country – your professional counselor can also guide you properly.

Working conditions

European workers are on the same salary threshold as Swiss workers. Swiss trade organizations for various economic sectors have signed agreements that set low and standard employee wage limits. Trade unions also exist for many professions. Their role is supportive of the interests of their members within the national economy of the country. Because of these agreements between tripartite committees, strikes are virtually non-existent in Switzerland.

For more information on working conditions, please contact Switzerland’s Chambers of Commerce and Employment.

James Loveland

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