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
Jurisdiction lies with the cantonal Labour Offices, which formulate the permit applications for the cantonal Offices for Migration. The cantonal Offices for Migration are bound by the applications, unless there are grounds for refusing it on anything other than labour market grounds (e.g. reasons which lie in the person of the applicant).
Types of permit
a) 120-day permit
This is not linked to a quota and gives entitlement either to an uninterrupted stay of 120 days in the calendar year or a stay of any 120 days in the calendar year. The purpose of the stay must be stated in advance. This type of permit is suitable for the setting up of a small or medium-sized business, and is used mainly if the requirements for an annual permit are not met.
b) Temporary work permit (L-permit; purple)
This is issued to non-nationals staying in Switzerland during temporary employment (twelve months maximum). The temporary work permit can be extended for up to 12 months, provided that the person in gainful employment continues to work for the same employer or on the same project. Responsibility for extending the permit lies with the respective canton.
c) Annual residence and work permit (B-permit; grey)
This is intended primarily for people in executive positions and, secondly, for the self-employed. It is called a B-permit in accordance with the type of identity documents involved. It is issued within the framework of the cantonal quotas mentioned above. It is valid for citizens of the 8 new EU countries for five years, while for citizens of Romania, Bulgaria and third countries it is valid for one year, and can be renewed. The B-permit may in individual cases also be issued for specified limited periods, if the duration of the stay in Switzerland is known in advance (e.g. temporary executive transfers for more than two years).
Rules pertaining to international commuters
International commuters from the 8 new EU countries, Romania, Bulgaria and third-party countries may pursue gainful employment only within Switzerland’s border zones. The Canton of Schwyz is not part of these border zones, and for this reason no international commuters from the aforementioned countries may be employed in the Canton.
Self-employed work for citizens of the 8 new EU countries
In order for citizens of the 8 new EU member states to engage in self-employed work, proof of the self-employed activity must already be presented at the time of the submission of the application. A business plan must be presented together with the application for a work and residence permit. An application for a residence permit for self-employed work must be submitted together with the respective business plan to the corresponding residential municipality in the Canton of Schwyz. A permit is required to switch from self-employed work to employed status, and this is subject to quota rules.
Self-employed work for citizens of Romania, Bulgaria and third-party countries
In order for citizens of Romania, Bulgaria and third-party countries to engage in self-employed work, an application for a residence permit for self-employed work must be submitted together with the respective business plan to the cantonal Labour Office. A permit is required to switch from selfemployed work to employed status. The granting of a permit for self-employed work is conditional upon economic conditions (see Conditions).
Conditions for the granting of a permit for self-employed work for citizens of Romania, Bulgaria and third-party countries
The permits are dependent upon specific labour market and economic conditions which are linked to the limited number of quotas. The criteria may be:
Consequences of a permit
Further information is available on the internet under www.sz.ch, see “Ausländerinnen, Ausländer” [“Aliens in the Canton of Schwyz”] or from the Federal Office for Migration website (www.bfm.admin.ch).