Work After Graduation in Switzerland

Switzerland seems to be the best destination for most of the international students for work after graduation as it offers good working conditions.

Indeed, Swiss employees enjoy the highest annual salaries in the world.

However, regarding recruiting foreigners, Switzerland is famous for its restrictive immigration policies and specific work permits. Although this may seem complicated at first, but finding work after graduation in Switzerland is not a hard task.


According to Swiss law, foreign labor is recruited with the same salaries and work conditions of the citizens. In fact, the number of foreign workers in Switzerland has significantly increased during the last decade.

Currently, there are more than one million and half of foreign workers residing in the country.

This number represents around 20% of the current population. The increase is contributing to the promotion of the country and the success of its economy.

When searching for a job, it is important for international students to put into consideration the big regional differences in the Swiss job market.

Geneva is the city that includes the highest rate of foreign workers, around 50% of the total. Most of them are working in one of the international institutions, such as the headquarters of the United Nations that is located in the city.

Moreover, the banking industry is mainly existing in Zurich and around it.

Types of Residence Permits in Switzerland

First of all, be aware that the Swiss government obliges employers not to recruit foreigners unless there are no suitable candidates from Switzerland or from countries that are signatories to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Workers with Switzerland.

In principle, only third-country nationals with a higher education (or a very specific skill) have a real chance of obtaining a Swiss work permit.

This being said, here are the different types of residence permits in Switzerland:

  • The B permit, issued to European Union nationals who have found a job and wish to live in Switzerland. Valid for 5 years.
  • The L permit issued to workers from the European Union who wish to settle in Switzerland for a period of less than one year, with or without a work contract. Valid for a maximum of 1 year.
  • For developing countries nationals, residence permits are subject to quotas.

Required Documents to Work After Graduation in Switzerland

To apply for residence permit, you need:

  • Accredited and authenticated letter from the university in which the student studied. It should prove that the student has completed his/her university degree (no need to submit the university certificate).
  • Evidence of finances to support a six-month stay
  • Residency proof

Notes about the Permit:

  • A residence permit can only be extended for six months
  • During the permit duration, its holder can work for a maximum of 15 hours per week

Permit for Postgraduate Studies or Training Purpose

Foreigners can enroll postgraduate studies or training purposes after finishing their studies. The required documents for the issuance of such residence permit are as the following:

  • Written confirmation or letter from the educational institution stating that the person concerned is qualified for education or training
  • Evidence of finances to support a six-month stay
  • Residency proof
  • Fulfilling the personal and educational requirements for the planned education or training course

Notes for This Type of Residence Permit:

  • If the applicant did not join the educational or training course in the set Swiss university, he/she losses the right to apply for a residence permit for six months to search for a job.
  • Residence for periods in Switzerland for education or training help in getting a permanent residence permit, under certain conditions.

Foreigners can work as employees, if:

  • It was in favor of the economy as a whole.
  • The employer filed a request for recruiting the applicant.

Foreigners can be self-employed, if:

  • It was in favor of the economy as a whole.
  • It was fulfilling the financial and operational requirements.

If you missed our article about Studying and Living costs in Switzerland, you can still check it.

About Sara

A professional Eng><Ara translator and writer.

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