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Five official websites to know if you’re planning to work in Switzerland

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 10 Oct, 2022 Updated Mon 10 Oct 2022 13:40 CEST
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A number of Swiss websites provide good information for job seekers. Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels

Whether you already have a Swiss job or are in the process of looking for one, these websites provide information and resources you'll find helpful.

Switzerland is certainly one of the best countries to work in. Its salaries are among the highest in the world, although whether the wages offset the high cost of living is another question.

The country also has strong labour laws encompassing working conditions, employees’ rights, annual leave and other time off, protection from discrimination, and gender equality, among other aspects of employment.

READ MORE: What is a Swiss collective bargaining agreement — and how could it benefit you?

In addition to the basic rules and conditions outlined in this legislation, many employees are also covered by the collective bargaining agreement (CLA), a kind of contract negotiated between Switzerland’s trade unions and employers or employer organisations. 

The type of website that you'll likely find useful depends on whether you're still looking for a job in Switzerland or already have one.

If you're in the former category, you should know that your passport determines how easy or difficult it may be to get a Swiss employer to hire you.

You can find out how to apply for a job in Switzerland in both of the above cases in this separate article.

In a nutshell, if you are a citizen of the European Union or EFTA states (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein), finding a job here is easier than if you are from another country (known in Switzerland as a ‘third nation’).

But first things first…

Before you start your job search, and even if you've already found a position, learn about what the Swiss legislation says about your rights and obligations as an employee.

This government website provides a good overview, in English, of what you can expect while working in Switzerland.

As far as official sources go for job seekers, the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) features detailed information on how to obtain a Swiss work permit if you are a EU / EFTA citizen or a national of a third country.

There is also separate information for UK citizens, who used to be part of the EU before Brexit but now are considered third-country nationals.

Congratulations, you already have a Swiss work permit

Even if you already have the right to work in Switzerland, you may still have some questions relating to your employment.

This website, put together by the federal, cantonal and communal authorities, is a good resource about short- or long-term employment, as well as self-employment.

All these sites provide good general overview, but you'll find more specific information on the employment website of the canton in which you work.

There you'll find all you need to know not only about working in a given canton, but also your rights in case you lose your job.

What about cross-border workers?

At the end of 2021, 362,000 cross-border workers were employed in Switzerland, according to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Most of them (203,689) come from France, followed by workers from Italy (86,322) and Germany (63, 547). The smallest group (8,489) is from Austria.

These people, who typically commute to and from work on daily basis, but have to return to their main place of residence abroad at least once a week, must obtain the so-called G work permit, which is given only to eligible border area residents.

Border regions are those in close enough geographic proximity to the Swiss border to make daily commuting to and from work feasible.

This site has all the information needed for those who want to become cross-border employees, or already are.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who can work in Switzerland but live in a neighbouring country?

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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/10/10 13:40

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