Eastern European Workers in Switzerland - What you need to know

 Author - Eastern Europeans Recruitment. Jan. 2019

Switzerland is a country of nearly eight million people, which is a relatively small population by European standards, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in opportunities and other factors.While Switzerland is not part of the EU, it is part of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA).

The Swiss workforce is comprised of around 25% foreigners, 80% of which are European nationals. In some specific industries this figure can be as high as 40% - in engineering industry, for example.


Depending on the part of Switzerland, you work in, there are three European languages spoken - Italian, French and German. However, English is widely spoken in almost all work places, so there is rarely the need to learn any other language, but to improve your chances, knowing one of these three languages may boost your job or social integration chances even more.

Work Permits

Eastern European nationals from the EU-25 countries, including Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia do not need a work permit to work in Switzerland for periods of less than 3 months. If you are still intending to work in Switzerland after 3 months, then you will need to obtain a permit(work or residence) - which your employer can obtain for you electronically (online) or you can apply for yourself in person with a letter from your employer.

Romanian and Bulgarian Workers - If you are from Romania or Bulgaria, then a work permit is needed, but easily obtained. Switzerland has a localised system of immigration, so the local government (canton) instead of the national government is in charge of this process. According to the Secretariat for Migration, the transition period for Romanian and Bulgarian workers in Switzerland will end on 1st of June 2019.

Croatian nationals are still subject to quotas and transition arrangements for the forseeable future.

If you happen to work for one of the large international organisations then no permit is needed. Instead of a work permit you will be given a special ID card. This card is called Carte de Légitimation.

International Companies and Organisations.

Due to its neutral stance, location as well as financial incentives provided by the government, Switzerland is home to a lot of the biggest organisations in the world. Pharmaceutical companies, Banks, Engineering companies, UN, WTO, Red Cross, FIFA etc.

Jobs and Salaries.

There are wide range of jobs available in Switzerland.

High Tech jobs in Engineering, Finance, IT, Medical industry are always in high demand. There is a great shortage of staff to fill these skilled job vacancies.

Domestic Staff - Switzerland has one of the highest rates of employment of family housekeepers and nannies in Europe. A domestic worker in Geneva or Zurich can probably expect to earn more than a junior- or even middle level- office worker in the UK or Ireland, for example. An experienced Switzerland carer can earn as much as - or more than - a qualified hospital nurse in the UK or Ireland.

Minimum wage

There is no national minimum wage in Switzerland. A recent national referendum rejected a proposal to introduce to a 22CHF rate. Having said that, Switzerland has local or union agreements for different industries to maintain wage standards.


Summary: Positives and Negatives of working Switzerland compared to EU countries


1. Switzerland has one of the highest salary levels in Europe.

2.Switzerland has very good social security benefits as well as strong labour laws


1.Eastern European (EU) nationals may require a work permit to work in Switzerland for a period exceeding months (90days)


For more information, please visit some of the websites below.


https://www.ch.ch/en/working-switzerland-eu-efta/ - Official information on life in Switzerland.


https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/themen/fza_schweiz-eu-efta/eu-efta_buerger_schweiz.html - this is the Switzerland Immigration Service.