Moving to Switzerland
Although not part of the EU, Switzerland is part of the EFTA which guarantees the free movement of EU citizens. It is also part of the Schengen area so there are no border controls from these countries. EU citizens can move to Switzerland but if they intend to work they will need to register for residence permits within three months of arrival. There are special rules for new EU countries, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.
Non-EU/EFTA residents who want to work in Switzerland will have to secure a work contract before they can enter the country. Your employer will submit a request to the Office of Migration explaining how you are a highly skilled specialist and the vacancy cannot be filled by a Swiss national or an EU/EFTA citizen. Only then, will you be issued a work permit.
Within 14 days of your arrival in Switzerland, you should register with the local municipality and arrange a residence permit. Even EU/EFTA citizens need to register their new address if they intend to stay for more than 90 days. If you are non-EU, you will need to apply for a special residence permit. This can vary between cantons in Switzerland so check out your specific canton for more information. There are many types of permits available. Short-term, temporary and permanent according to your individual circumstances. The Swiss have very strict quotas for foreign workers but they also have large skill shortages in certain areas so it’s not impossible to get a work permit if you are highly qualified or specialised.
Good to Know
Health insurance is compulsory if you intend on staying in Switzerland for more than 90 days. Each individual must be insured, not as a family and there is also an ‘own risk’ excess to be paid of CHF 300 per year. You can change your insurance provider only once a year, at New Year. Luckily, the health care system is highly regarded and is considered the best in Europe. Opening a bank account can be complicated in Switzerland. It’s best to do this in person once you arrive. Make sure you have all the relevant documentation and have it apostille stamped or notarized if possible. You will need to show proof of address or have some other proof of solvency like an employer’s reference/contract.
Only 30% of people own their own home in Switzerland but the time has never been better to buy. House prices have been skyrocketing across Europe but in Switzerland, things have remained stable and with mortgages at an all-time low-interest rate, now is a great time to invest in your first property. You will probably need a 20% deposit and there will be property taxes to pay so you should balance how long you intend on staying in Switzerland before you buy. Renting is a more flexible option. Rents can be expensive but properties are likely to be very well maintained. Apartments in big cities such as Zurich are likely to be quite small but there will probably be communal spaces such as gardens. Tenants are well protected with strong legal rights. Learn more about housing in Switzerland here!
If you are moving to Zurich or elsewhere in Switzerland, you are sure to have many questions. Check out our advice pages about living in Switzerland and working in Switzerland for more useful information on culture and lifestyle. Mundialz is here to help you relocate to Switzerland so you can enjoy your new job and your new life.