Monday, 21 May 2012

Moving to Switzerland: Visas and Work Permits

Hamiltons provide high quality removals to Switzerland for people who are relocating from the UK for work. We also provide removals to Switzerland to and from most European countries as well as international shipping to Switzerland. Our moving to Switzerland service will be tailored to your requirements and can include full packing, cleaning, unpacking, storage or simply the road transportation or shipping of your belongings.

Moving to Switzerland - click here to read more about our removals to Switzerland service.

This guide is written for UK nationals who are moving to Switzerland. It provides information on obtaining a work and residence permit, which is required for those wishing to live and work here. We also include details of what it is like to work in Switzerland, what to expect from Swiss salaries and setting up a business.

Moving to Switzerland: Guide to Working in Switzerland

Swiss cities are ranked among the best in the world to live and work in, with the cities of Geneva and Zurich in particular offering high standards of living and salaries. However, you can only achieve this type of status after obtaining the right job and after having successfully completed the residence permit process - both of which can be difficult.

This is because Switzerland has a restrictive immigration policy. Currently only a set number of work permits are granted to foreigners and these are allocated according to the region and company. And for a work permit to be granted, the employer must first prove that they were not able to hire a Swiss national for the position. On the plus side, this strict selection process means that expatriates who are granted the right to work here are usually highly highly educated, further adding to the country's skill base.

Foreigners are sought after in the  IT and financial services industries and job opportunities are also available in the tourist trade. In addition to this positions as lawyers, German language teachers and biotechnologists are usually available for non-Swiss nationals. It will significantly limit your chances however if you cannot speak the language (French, German or Italian), so it pays to learn these prior to your intended move.

Despite a long and sometimes difficult process of securing employment, if you are offered a job in the country, you will find that it is all well worth the effort and hard work. 

Moving to Switzerland: Work Permits

EU nationals looking for work can enter the country for up to three months. If they haven’t found a job within this time, they can apply for an L-Permit, which allows them short term residency and grants another three months during which they can look for a job.

They can then apply for a work and residence permit upon receipt of a job offer.

If you have a residence permit, your spouse, parents and grandparents are also entitled to residence. Your spouse is eligible to work in the country if their pay meets local and industry standards. The wage earner is obliged to support anyone under the age of 21, as well as parents and grandparents.

In 2002 regulations involving work permits for EU nationals in Switzerland were relaxed. It gave foreign workers the opportunity to move between cantons in Switzerland, change jobs under the same permit and bring their families over. The laws will be relaxed further in 2014 when quotas for work permits issued to EU nationals will be dropped. 
Moving to Switzerland: Guide to Swiss Salaries

The Swiss are known for being private individuals and are generally tight lipped about salaries. Information on wages rarely accompany job adverts, which can present difficulties for international job hunters, as it is hard to gage the salary of the position they are applying for.

As the cost of living keeps rising in Switzerland, expatriates should make sure their salaries reflect this to afford a good quality of life. Salaries vary from region to region but they are generally higher in Zurich than in any other part of the country.

A good tip is to look at the government-sponsored personal wages Salarium. This is an interactive web site where you can get a rough indication of what you can expect your monthly salary to be.

Moving to Switzerland: Running a Business in Switzerland

Switzerland is regarded as one of the world’s most capitalist economies and new businesses are very welcome here. The economy is built on free trade and is highly competitive (ranked the second most competitive in the world). Businesses which are registered in Switzerland benefit from a comparatively low tax rate, attracting many foreign nationals. There is also much less red tape than in nearby France and Germany.

Companies in Switzerland can be established in the form of a limited liability company or corporation. A company does not need to have a license to do business in Switzerland (with the exception of some circumstances) and shareholders are not required to be Swiss citizens or a Swiss company.

There are different laws in Switzerland governing the rights and well-being of employees. For example, there is no set minimum wage here, but some general labour agreements outline minimum wage levels in certain sectors. In addition, staff may only work up to a maximum of 45 hours per week.

Removals to Switzerland - click here to read more about our removlas to Switzerland service.

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