In Switzerland, having a residence permit allows foreign nationals to work and live in the country legally. No separate work permit is issued. Any expatriate wishing to live in the country for more than 90 days must obtain a residence permit, regardless of being EU/EFTA citizens.

EU/EFTA citizens are able to get resident permits without too much trouble however; citizens of other countries are awarded the permits based on highly restricted quota system. The system varies from country to country.

Citizens of the EU countries are allowed certain benefits in Switzerland. EU nationals can work in Switzerland without a permit for a maximum of three months. All that is needed is to register with the authorities. Students with EU nationalities, studying in Switzerland can work for 15 hours a week for the duration of their studies. Only long term employees from EU countries will need residence permits.

Expatriates working in Switzerland generally find jobs in IT and financial organizations. Jobs in seasonal tourism also attract many foreign workers. Snowboard and skiing instructors who speak English are usually in demand in the Swiss Alps during the tourist season. There is also demand for biotechnologists, teachers of German Language, and lawyers. While the medium of communication in most multinational institutions is English, expatriates with knowledge of a second language like German, Italian or French stand a better of landing a professional job.

Internships are common in Switzerland. Multinational companies prefer recruiting bilingual volunteers and new graduates for their offices in Switzerland. Best way to get such apprenticeships is to just float your CV across a variety of companies and see if they have positions open.


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