Answer ... In Switzerland, companies tend to employ both foreign workers and Swiss nationals. As a rule, foreign nationals engaging in any form of gainful employment in Switzerland require a permit. The specifics of immigration law must be carefully considered in advance to ensure successful staff management. Both foreign employees and the Swiss employer are punishable if they fail to comply with the applicable immigration law. Employees or employers found guilty of such infringements find it difficult to obtain subsequent work permits.
In general, any work performed by a foreign national in Switzerland over eight days per calendar year requires a work permit or is subject to an online registration procedure. Business visits of less than eight days per calendar year are not subject to a work permit.
Employers with a registered seat in an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member state can post their employees to Switzerland for up to 90 days per year without applying for a work permit. Instead, employers must register the posted employees online at least eight days before they start work in Switzerland.
There are no special regimes for the tech or financial industry. However, since there is a shortage of specialists in the IT and tech industries, it will be easier to prove the economic need for such work in a third-country national’s work permit application.
Answer ... A general distinction is made in Switzerland between EU, EFTA and third-country nationals. While EU and EFTA nationals benefit from a number of treaties and free movement in the European Union, work permits for well-qualified employees who are third-country nationals are subject to federal and national quotas.
Under the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons within the European Union, employees who have an employment contract with a Swiss company are entitled to a work permit on presentation of their employment agreement. Self-employed applicants must present an acceptable business plan and show that their business will generate employment in the local market in order to obtain a work permit.
Work permits for third-country nationals will be granted only where:
- they are sponsored by an employer;
- quotas are available;
- applications by Swiss nationals and EU and EFTA applicants have been prioritised;
- they have the required qualifications (a master’s degree at least is required); and
- the salary or terms and conditions of employment are customary in the particular sector and region.