Apart from certain exceptions, everyone is free to do business in Switzerland. So everyone – including foreigners – is entitled to conduct business activities and to establish a company for their purpose. If a foreigner intends to work in person in the business, residence and work permits are required. For many start-ups, this is the only government authorization required. Although the government has a certain degree of discretion in granting such permits, for many start-ups these are the only government authorizations required. With regard to other permissions, foreigners are usually entitled to the granting of those permits.

Introduction

Free movement for the citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was gradually introduced through the implementation of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between the European Union (EU) and Switzerland and the changes made to the agreement for the creation of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on 1 June 2002. With effect from 1 June 2007, free movement will be granted on a trial basis to citizens of the 15 old EU member states, of Malta and Cyprus as well as of EFTA states. Other regulations apply to citizens of the eight new EU countries (excluding Malta and Cyprus), of Romania and Bulgaria as well as third-party nationals.

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Principle

Non-nationals wishing to work in Switzerland need a residence permit, which will entitle them to take up residence, but also governs the type of employment allowed. Residence permits are subject to cantonal quotas, defined by federal regulations. However, cantons have certain decision-making powers within these quotas. The issuance of permits

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