Irish, I think we came over on the same plan, except you are EU, and I am not.
As pertaining to EU residents the laws have changed in the last year. It's why you have a flood of German visa seekers, something like 5000 new visas for the country alone per week. EU residents can change status and re locate here as locals more easy then any one else.
I had the same problem with the Permit deal, but it is really quite simple. More then likely your possible employers have never done this before, and think you are not able to get a permit. All they need to do is go to their Gemeindehaus and ask for the proper forms, and it can take a couple weeks. If you are in Geneva probably quicker. They probably need some one to start right away and fear you won't be able to for months.