For members


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

While people from the EU/EFTA states can get a Swiss work permit relatively easy, citizens from third countries are subject to quotas, which are renewed each year.

EXPLAINED: Switzerland's planned work quotas for third-country nationals
You must be a highly shklled worker to be allowed into Switzerland from third nations.Image by Borko Manigoda from Pixabay

For 2023, the government will issue the same number of work permits to non-Europeans as it had this and last year, the Federal Council has announced.

This means 8,500 skilled workers from third countries can be employed in Switzerland: 4,500 will benefit from a B and 4,000 from a L permit.

In addition, 3,500 permits are set aside for workers from the UK, as British citizens benefit from separate quotas: 2,100 under a B permit and 1,400 under an L permit.

Why do British citizens have a separate quota?

From January 1st, 2021, people from Great Britain are no longer considered to be EU nationals and are subjected to the same rules as other citizens of third nations.

In other words, they will be “admitted to work here provided if this is in Switzerland’s overall economic interest”, according to State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). 

However, this  doesn’t apply to British nationals who had moved to Switzerland before the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31st, 2020) — they will retain all their existing rights for residence and employment.

How can a third-country national apply for a Swiss work permit?

“Authorisations are issued according to the needs of companies and taking into account the economic interests of Switzerland,” the Federal Council said,  adding that “priority is given to workers already present in the country.”

If you are not in Switzerland but want to apply from abroad, “you may only do so if you are highly qualified, i.e. if you are a manager, specialist or other skilled professional,” according to SEM.

“This means, essentially, that you should have a degree from a university or an institution of higher education, as well as a number of years of professional work experience.”

And, you must have a job offer in Switzerland, that is, someone who can attest they want to employ you. 

Another condition is that your potential employer must prove that there is no suitable person to fill the job vacancy from Switzerland or from an EU/EFTA state, SEM said.

How do you find an employer who might want to take you on?

In the same way as anyone else — Swiss or EU / EFTA national — would: look at posts advertised in Switzerland and if you see a job listing you like, you can apply in the usual manner — send your CV and other documents required by the company.

If you do get hired because you fulfil all the criteria — that is, you are highly skilled and no Swiss or EU candidate can be found to fill this position — your employer will apply for a work permit for you. Cantonal authorities will then decide, based on the quota system mentioned above, whether to grant the authorisation.

You can find more information in this article:

EXPLAINED: What are your chances of getting a job in Switzerland from abroad?

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For members


Five of the best co-working spaces in Switzerland’s big cities

Since the pandemic co-working spaces have boomed bringing together freelancers, entrepreneurs and even full-time employees. So we've picked out five of the best in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Bern.

Five of the best co-working spaces in Switzerland's big cities

More than just a trend: Co-working spaces have grown and established themselves across Switzerland. Not least since a certain pandemic have employers realised that staff working outside the office on a 9–5 schedule can be at least as productive (if not more) as they were before the work-from-home boom.

Not surprisingly then that more and more co-working spaces are popping up within Switzerland, allowing entrepreneurs, freelancers, and even full-time employees to choose the best working environment for their needs.

Tessinerplatz, Zurich

One of Zurich’s most popular co-working spaces, the Tessinerplatz offers modern meeting rooms for rent, an inspiring working environment and to top it all off, the (self-proclaimed) best public coffee bar in Zurich’s city centre.

Aspiring co-workers can choose from among five options, the Flex Desk (CHF 130/day), the Fix Desk (CHF 600/month) and the Student or Senior Desk (CHF 65+/month).

The Tessinerplatz also offers young entrepreneurs a special deal on the so-called Startup Desk, with the first month being free of charge and the 2nd to 4th months being priced at 40 percent less than the original fee. Normal pricing for the Startup Desk applies from month five.

Those choosing to book a desk at Tessinerplatz can enjoy a multitude of perks, such as free coffee and beer, free use of e-bikes and a free community membership.

You can also book a tour of the place prior to formally booking a spot or alternatively, do a trial day entirely free of charge!

Impact Hub, Basel

The Impact Hub describes itself as a community of purpose-driven members working towards the Sustainable Development Goals and making a positive impact in the world. The co-working spaces were specifically designed to support social entrepreneurs and sustainable innovators in the city, so if you feel passionate about making a difference while getting the most out of your workday, then the Impact Hub would make a great fit.

The Impact Hub is based in Basel’s up-and-coming Dreispitz district and offers workers the Starter (CHF 135/month), Medium (CHF 215/month) and Nomad (CHF 395/month) packs.

As part of all three, workers will have 24/7 access to high-speed Wi-Fi, a printer and scanner, and even a mini library. The facilities also include a kitchen with free coffee and a weekly networking offer with croissants.

Gotham, Lausanne

Gotham offers Switzerland’s biggest co-working spaces and aims to foster innovation between start-ups and corporate businesses. If you’re looking to work near the city centre, Gotham’s Lausanne Gare – located just minutes from the train station – may be your best bet.

Described as a “city within a city”, the eco-responsible Lausanne Gare offers workers high-tech meeting rooms, high-speed Wi-Fi, a secured area, and unlimited printers. For those looking for some downtime as well as productivity, Lausanne Gare’s facilities also come with a chill and fun zone as well as free Nespresso coffee.

Spaces, Geneva

If you’re hoping to work side by side with like-minded entrepreneurs in flexible shared offices, then Spaces in Geneva’s Quai De L’Ile, just opposite the Place de Bel-Air, is the place to be.

The fully renovated and low energy consumption building has nine meeting rooms, 29 dedicated desks, accessibility, multiple breakout areas, and is fully serviced.

Co-workers can opt for a monthly membership which will set you back CHF 349 for a full month, CHF 219 per person for 10 days, or CHF 145 for 5 days.

For those not into hot desking and with money to splurge, you can also book a “dedicated desk” in a beautifully designed shared workspace for CHF 875 a month. This option will also give you your own personal locker as well as 24/7 access.

Zentroom, Bern

Based inside Bern’s train station, zentroom impresses with its modern infrastructure and stunning views over Switzerland’s capital.

In addition to free drinks and fruit, co-workers can choose from a half or full day pass (CHF 29/45) which gives you access to a 1,100-square metres open space or common area – however, beware! This option is on a strict first come, first served basis and spaces fill up quickly. If you’re looking to save money on your half or full day pass, then buying 10 passes at once will give you 10 percent off the original price. The passes themselves have no expiration date.

Those wishing to use the zentroom facilities more frequently can also invest in monthly membership plans. The Flex Desk Light (CHF 370/month) package will give you access to a shared desk space for 10 days, while workers choosing the Flex Desk package (CHF 690/month) have 24/7 access to the offices using a provided key for a whole month.