Relocation to Switzerland

Switzerland is not only a very popular chosen destination for emigration because of its scenic attractions and its high standard of living - especially entrepreneurs and wealthy persons appreciate Switzerland and its liberal tax and welfare system.

Basic principles

Switzerland has a dual system for the admission of foreign workers. Employees of all qualification levels from the EU/EFTA states obtain easy access to the Swiss job market by means of the agreement on the free movement of people across the borders of nation states. From all other countries, only well qualified workers are permitted to work to a limited extent. On the other hand, special provisions apply for senior citizens, persons of private means, students (and others) and self-employed persons from EU/EFTA nation states.

EU-/EFTA-Citizens European Union, EU (except Bulgaria and Romania):


Since June 1, 2007, the full freedom of movement applies to citizen of the old EU and EFTA countries - therefore, no transitional periods or quota restrictions apply.

Citizens of the EU-8 countries (excluding Bulgaria and Romania) also have the benefit of full freedom of movement since May 1, 2011 and are therefore, treated as citizens of the old EU and EFTA countries.

Pensioners, students and independent persons:

Persons, who wish to stay in Switzerland without taking up employment, are entitled to a residence permit if they can prove that they have sufficient financial resources, as well as health and accident insurance.  Students must also demonstrate that they are registered at a recognised educational institution in Switzerland.

Self-employed (in the form of a sole proprietorship or partnership):

Persons, who reside in Switzerland and want to be self-employed, must satisfactorily demonstrate that effective independence exists (i.e. by means of a business plan). If the evidence of the self-employment is successful, a residence permit with a validity of five years will be issued.  The authorities may, at a later point in time, examine whether the self-employment is effective, permanent and able to provide a secure livelihood. If these conditions are not met, the permit may be revoked.

Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania:

Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania remain subject to stringent conditions and the quota for admission to the Swiss labour market.

Other countries:

Third country nationals are not granted authorisation until the following qualifications can be fulfilled:

  • The employer must verify that no equivalently qualified person who is already authorised in Switzerland was able to be found for the position. The position must also be advertised at the regional employment agency (Swiss abbreviation: RAV) as well as at EURES. Furthermore, it must be documented that efforts have been made via other channels (newspapers, Internet, etc.).
  • The wage and working conditions must comply with the standard local approaches in the manner customary for this sector of industry.
  • In addition, third country nationals must meet certain personal requirements; they must be managers, specialists, academics, qualified workers or the like. Primarily persons who are graduates of technical colleges or universities are regarded as qualified workers as well as those with several years of professional experience. Apart from the occupational qualification, integration criteria must also be taken into account; a sustainable integration must be ensured. (Language skills, age, social environment, etc.)

To some extent variations from the authorisation requirements are possible in specific cases. (e.g. in the case of company formations in regions in which (numerous) sustainable jobs can be created.)

Source: Federal Office for Migration