Questions On Obtaining a Work Permit

Swiss work permit, Immigration Switzerland, Switzerland B-permit, Swiss B-permit

“How can I obtain a work permit in Switzerland?” This is the question brewing on many foreigners’ minds, in this blog we would like to provide you with a few professional tips about Swiss work permit application. 

Switzerland has a dual system granting foreign nationals access to the labor market. Nationals of the European Union (EU) or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are easily granted access to the Swiss labor market, thanks to the Agreements on the Free Movement of people.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that anyone can freely work in Switzerland; there are a number of criteria that must be met before obtaining a proper work permit. Read on as we answer a few questions on this issue.

Who has the right to work in Switzerland?

When it comes to employment in Switzerland, preference is primarily given to Swiss nationals, then to EU nationals, and finally to so-called “third state” nationals, as referred to by the Federal Council. Foreigners in Switzerland can find suitable employment if they are sponsored by a prospective employer.

What steps should I take to apply for a work permit?

Your employer must submit the relevant application to the cantonal employment service. Workers from countries that are subject to visa requirements are requested to apply for a visa with the local Swiss diplomatic representation abroad.

What information should your employer include?

When submitting your application, your potential employer must include a contract of employment signed by the employer and the employee. The contract must contain a note reading, “Contract only valid on condition that the authorities grant a work permit.” Your employer must register your credentials with the various social security authorities. It is the responsibility of the employer to deduct the proper amount of tax each month from the employee’s wage.

What qualifications do authorities look for?

The authorities will examine your personal qualifications to see if you are suitable for the post. Qualified employees, i.e. individuals with a degree from a university or an institute of higher education, will commonly be admitted. Depending on the profession or field of specialization, individuals with special training or years of experience will also be considered more seriously. Applicants must submit all copies of their original documents, including a translation if the documents are not in German, French, Italian or English.

What are the main types of permits in Switzerland?

Depending on your case and the agreement with your potential employer, you may be issued one of the following work permits.

Permit L is a short-term residence permit that allows you to stay in Switzerland for up to one year. The L permit is tied to the terms of the employment contract; it can be extended in certain cases for a year if you continue working for the same employer.

Permit B is a residence permit that can be extended annually. These permits are issued on a quota basis and are tied to the same employer.

Permit C is a settlement permit for those who have been living in Switzerland for 10 continuous years. Residents of the United States and Canada only have to live for five continuous years to apply for this settlement permit.


FERZ SA is able to provide you with a wide range of services related to obtaining a residency permit in Switzerland and assist you with every step of your application. You can contact us in order to obtain an individual consultation corresponding to your specific needs.