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Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news

Find out all the latest information related to working in Switzerland with The Local's weekly roundup of job news.

Working in Switzerland: A weekly roundup of the latest job news
Lorry drivers are difficult to find in Switzerland. PAUL FAITH / AFP

Fewer unemployed people in Switzerland

The situation on the Swiss labour market brightened further in August, as the unemployment rate fell slightly.

This is due to the fact that construction and tourism activities have picked up during the summer and there is an increasing need for workers in these sectors.

Another proof of the improved state of the labour market is the number of job seekers, which fell by 4,768 in August compared to July. At the same time, the number of vacancies increased by 1,638 to 58,450.

Wage increases: Swiss union asks for 100 francs more per month

Salaries must rise by at least 2 percent, or 100 francs per month, according to the Swiss Trade Union Union (USS).

After having made significant efforts during the pandemic, Switzerland’s employees “must now be able to take advantage of the favourable economic situation that is benefiting the vast majority of sectors in Switzerland”, USS said.  

“For the moment, with few exceptions, the workers have not yet seen the slightest recognition of these efforts in terms of pay”.

Special attention must be given to the professions in which women are mainly employed. According to the USS, one concrete example is the health sector, where the level of pay is “very inadequate”.

Some job vacancies are difficult to fill

There is a shortage of employees in sectors such as nursing, construction, or long-haul driving, but these positions are difficult to fill because many of these jobs are difficult and poorly paid.

Nicky Le Feuvre , work sociologist at the University of Lausanne, is not surprised by these shortages, especially since Swiss workers are not interested in certain professions and these jobs depend largely on foreign or cross- border  employees.

 “What is even more surprising is that this phenomenon is still evident today. This means that even now, some people think twice about getting into ‘difficult’ jobs. ”

Did you know?

If you are looking for a job in Switzerland, you don’t have to wait to answer adverts in the newspaper or online.

You can send in your CV “spontaneously”, that is, propose your candidacy to any company you are interested in, even if it is not hiring at the moment.

Simply send a letter along with your CV to the Human Resources department, explaining why you would like to work at this particular company, and asking to keep your application on file in case a vacancy comes up.

Quite a few people in Switzerland who contact the company directly end up hired.

Useful links

Looking for a job in Switzerland or just want a little more information about working here, then check out the following links: 

The pros and cons of working in Switzerland

Everything you need to know about annual leave in Switzerland

How much do university graduates earn in Switzerland – and who earns the most?

The jobs roundup is new addition and we’d welcome any feedback or suggestions for areas it should cover. Please email us at [email protected]

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For members


What happens to your Swiss work permit if you lose your job?

If you are a foreign national, your ability to work in Switzerland is often tied to your permit. But would you be allowed to remain in the country if you become unemployed?

What happens to your Swiss work permit if you lose your job?

Losing a job is a huge inconvenience to any employee, whether Swiss or not, but it is especially disturbing to foreign nationals.

Whether or not you can remain in Switzerland under such circumstances — and for how long — depends largely on your citizenship and the kind of permit you hold.

As in all other matters relating to employment and residence, EU / EFTA nationals are in a better position than their counterparts from third nations.

The kind of permit you carry is also important: for instance, a C permit is much more valuable in this situation than, say a L permit, which is issued for a limited period of time, usually less than a year.

The most important factor, however, is what kind of passport you hold.

READ MORE: Nine things you need to know about work permits in Switzerland

If you are a national of an EU / EEFTA state, “you may stay in Switzerland for at least six months to seek new employment,” according to State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

However, you will have to register with your cantonal migration authorities as a job seeker / unemployed person. 

If you don’t find a new job within that time, you may have to leave the country, but can apply for a new permit if you get another employer.

By the way, you can continue to receive Swiss unemployment benefits for up to three months after leaving the country — as long as you are a citizen of an EU or EFTA country and you move to an EU / EFTA member state.

What if you are a citizen of a third country?

You will face more restrictions than people from the EU / EFTA states.

That’s because your work permit is tied to your job, so becoming unemployed would automatically mean losing your permit as well.

However, in some cases, you may not have to leave the country immediately: you can stay in Switzerland, and look for another job, for 30 days from the date the cantonal authorities are notified of your dismissal.

Thirty days is a period that any foreigner, regardless of nationality, can legally remain in Switzerland.

However, given that work permits for third-country nationals are subject to strict criteria and quota system, finding an employer willing to hire you and apply for a work permit on your behalf will likely be problematic — unless you have some specific skills that are in high demand and that can’t be found among the Swiss or EU / EFTA workforce.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Switzerland’s planned work quotas for third-country nationals

Is there a (legal) way to remain in Switzerland after losing one’s job?

Actually yes. You can live in Switzerland without working. but the conditions are strict and not easy for just anyone to fulfil.

“To take up residence in Switzerland without pursuing a gainful activity, people such as pensioners, students, or those of private means need to register with the local authorities of the place they reside and apply for a residence permit for non-working persons,” SEM explains.

However, this type of residence permit “will be granted if you can prove that you possess sufficient financial means for you and your family members not to have to rely on Swiss social security benefits,” SEM said.

“Financial means are defined as being sufficient if Swiss nationals in the same situation are not entitled to claim benefits.”

In other words, it helps if you are independently rich.
READ MORE: Golden visas: Everything you need to know about ‘buying’ Swiss residency