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Capital's Swiss Tips: Work Permits & Visas

21 Jun 14:00 by Lucy Peel

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The world of international employment services can seem overwhelming, however throughout this series we hope to demystify many preconceptions about placing workers internationally, and in Switzerland specifically. Professionals and Contractors are constantly approaching us with questions or queries regarding contracting in Switzerland. With this in mind, we have collated a selection of some of the most common questions that we are frequently asked on Swiss work permits and visas.

I have placed a contractor in Switzerland. Are you able to assist in processing a work permit to allow the contractor to start work on Monday?
Absolutely – subject to the relevant paperwork all being in place. This means that the end client’s contract and employment agreement must have already been sent out. Only at this point can we begin the work permit process. Typically, 90-day declarations can be applied for 24 hours prior to a contractor’s start date, or the Friday before their first Monday at work.

Are all EU Nationals, allowed to work in Switzerland?
Yes. For the time being, however, restrictions apply to Croatia.

Does Brexit mean that UK contractors cannot work in Switzerland?
No. At present, UK contractors can continue to work in Switzerland, as nothing has yet been actioned from a UK perspective in terms of Brexit. This may change over the next 24 months but remains uncertain. 

Can you get a visa for a non-EU national?
Put simply – NO. For non-EU nationals, the end client would be in a much better position to sponsor the contractor for a visa. From a labour leasing perspective, we would have to provide evidence that we have looked for the same candidate within Switzerland and the EU before engaging with a non-EU national. This process could take months; therefore, non-EU nationals cannot be sponsored for labour leasing purposes.

I have a non- EU national who already holds a Swiss Residence Permit. Can you employ and payroll them?
We can, however we would require a copy of the permit to ensure that no restrictions apply. For example, an Indian national that has been sponsored by a Swiss client, for instance, means that they can stay in Switzerland for the duration of their sponsorship but the moment they stop working for that company they may not have a right to work in Switzerland. So, with this in mind, we would need to take a look at the existing work permit to check for restrictions.

How much does a work permit cost and who pays for it?
The 90-day online declaration is free, and this is the type of permit for the majority of fresh workers coming into Switzerland. Aside from this, the cost will depend on what type of permit you apply for but will never exceed more than 100 CHF. Unless the agency decides otherwise, the contractor will typically pay for this fee when they collect their work permit.

What is a G Permit?
A G Permit is another type of work permit for foreign workers in Switzerland. This type of permit is suitable for contractors who return daily or at least once a week to their home country, for example, over the border to France or Germany. A G Permit is the ideal type of work permit for a contractor coming to Switzerland for around six months, who does not rent an apartment and travels back home every day or weekend. Workers who are not planning to return home this frequently would require a different type of permit.


I hope that you have found the answers within this article helpful, and that the idea of placing contractors in Switzerland now feels like a less daunting task. Of course, visas and work permits are just one area of contracting, and over the coming weeks and months, I will be providing more insights and understanding into everything you need to know before placing a worker in Switzerland, so make sure you stay tuned. If you would like any more information on work permits and visas or if you have a specific query regarding working or placing candidates in Switzerland, you can contact us