In Switzerland, the law on Foreigners and Integration (LEI) regulates the different types of permits and visas. An “autorisation de courte durée ou de séjour” (L or B permit) is mandatory for any foreigner planning to work in Switzerland (art. 11 al. 1 LEI).
Despite the fact that Switzerland is not a member of the EU, the same conditions apply to EU/EFTA citizens wishing to live and work on Swiss territory. Switzerland has signed the freedom of movement agreement as part of the bilateral accord with the EU, allowing EU-28/EFTA citizens to enter, reside and work in the country.
For non-EU citizens, yearly quotas apply for B and L permits. It is the employer who requests a work permit for the non-EU worker and who must demonstrate that no Swiss or European worker matched the criteria for the position. Only skilled migrants can be hired from the non-EU job market.
Obtaining a work permit in Switzerland relies on different factors: whether the applicant is a EU-28/EFTA citizen or not, holds a work contract, the number of permits available for the year (quotas) and the skills and expertise held by the applicant.
• The CDL / Ci permit, an authorization to work delivered for diplomatic status employees.
• The B permit, a multi-faceted residency and work permit for EU and non-EU foreigners.
• The L permit, a short-term authorization to work or reside in Switzerland.
• The G permit, an authorization to work delivered for cross-border workers.
• The C permit, Swiss permanent residency.
• The long term visa, given for specific situations.
• The Swiss citizenship itself.
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