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Old 13.12.2012, 13:17
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Hoping to be here long term! ( Employment related thread )

Hello everyone,

Just wanted to introduce myself as I'm hoping that this forum can help give me answers to some of my questions about life here in Basel. I'll just give the short story to how I ended up in Basel.

This summer I worked from Slovenia for 3 months. I absolutely loved my time in Europe and got to travel quite a bit. I liked it so much that I started thinking about ways that I could live here. One weekend, toward the end of my stay in Europe, I found myself in Basel and then hiking through the Swiss Alps. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The bigger part of the story is that I met someone here.

yadda yadda yadda...Three months after being back in the States I had quit my job and bought a plane ticket to Basel.

I'm only here on a 3 month tourist visa for now as I test the waters. I've been here since November and so far am really loving it. I will go back to the States Feb 5 and unless I obtain a Visa before then (highly unlikely) I will have to stay there for 90 days before I can come back again.

So my goal is to figure out how to get a Visa so that I can stay long-term.

By profession I am a graphic designer with most of my recent experience focusing on web design and development. I would LOVE to be able to stay here and be a freelancer but I don't believe that can be easily done. So I'm open to job opportunities should they exist.

Anyway, that was a bit longer than expected. If anyone has any tips or tricks to living in Basel, getting a Visa, or just places to visit I'm all ears!

Thanks!
-Lindsey
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Old 13.12.2012, 13:50
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

Lindsey, I assume you have done your research on what is required for a non-EU citizen to be hired and approved for a permit in Switzerland these days?

Given that a company must first prove that no Swiss or EU citizen is qualified and available to do the job before a permit will be granted to a non-EU citizen, given that non-EU permits are being denied with increasing frequency as the authorities are trying to protect CH/EU workers in the economic downturn, and given the unique difficulties you will face as an American here in these FATCA-driven times...

... unless you have unique skills and top-notch qualifications, backed up by years of experience, in an in-demand field - hate to say it, but marriage may be your best bet.

Wishing you all the best as you follow your dreams.
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Old 13.12.2012, 13:58
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

@meloncollie

Thanks! I have done a lot of research and all of my research also led me to the same conclusion. Then I was put in touch with a friend of a friend who got a job in Switzerland at an action sports company (She is also American). She told me that some of the bigger global companies that are looking for experience in a specific area (ie:action sports) end up hiring a lot outsite of the country and so are used to doing the paperwork required. Incidentally the past two years I have also worked at an action sports company as a graphic designer so maybe if I look into some of these companies I have a chance?

The other idea is to look into a German self-employment visa. Anyone have insight on that?
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Old 13.12.2012, 14:42
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

You could try, but again it's the question of what special/unique skills in graphic design do you have that no one else does. Yes the action sports field may need trainers/supervisors that they can't find here, depending on the sport, but graphic design is not action sport. It's not just doing the paperwork, a company has to prove - via a time consuming and expensive process - that they can't find a Swiss or EU citizen who can fulfill their requirements. Only then might they be granted a permit so they can employ someone, but there are quota limits and if they are all gone the company won't get a permit.

Also what are your language skills like? If you're going to work here you'll probably need to have a good working knowledge of at least one of Switzerland's official languages, unless you do land a job at a major international company.

I don't want to ruin your hopes, but as meloncollie says you need that something extra otherwise it just isn't going to happen. Also you are not allowed to apply for jobs while you are here as a tourist.

The idea of living in Germany or France so as to be near Basel is a good one, but again you'll need to speak the national language pretty well to land a job.
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Old 13.12.2012, 14:52
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

Oh, let me clarify the connection between action sports and graphic design. The girl I was referring to works in Public Relations and had experience working for a company in the Action Sports Industry stateside. The job she got here was with an shoe company in the Action Sports Industry and according to her they find it difficult sometimes to find candidates that have not only the skill but also the experience in that particular industry.

That being said, my skill is graphic design/web design/web development but I have a background working in the Action Sports industry (doing all of those things) and also a background working in WordPress. So... if there's an action sports company here who needs a web designer/developer that knows WordPress then maybe I have a chance?! I'm sure it's not very likely.

I wasn't aware that you can't apply for jobs on a tourist visa. I had actually read the opposite somewhere. How do they expect you to do that then? Is there a special visitation visa just for job interviews?

I took French from 7th grade through college but since I stopped using it I don't remember much. I started the Rosetta Stone German language program but so far I've not learned much more than "The boy is eating." If I were to secure a German Freelance Visa you really think that knowing one of the official languages would be important for securing freelance work? Seems a lot of people also speak English.
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Old 13.12.2012, 14:54
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

I saw this thread....maybe too late?? Irrelevant? Worth a try I'd say...

Looking for a brilliant Graphic Designer
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Old 13.12.2012, 14:57
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

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I saw this thread....maybe too late?? Irrelevant? Worth a try I'd say...

Looking for a brilliant Graphic Designer

If I knew how to "thank" you on here I would. Not sure where that button is. I saw that post to and have already contributed to the conversation and PMd the OP.

Thanks for the heads up though!
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Old 13.12.2012, 14:58
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

Welcome to Switzerland Lindsey

Check this thread out: Where there is a will, there is a way!

All the best!!!
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Old 13.12.2012, 15:31
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

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Oh, let me clarify the connection between action sports and graphic design. The girl I was referring to works in Public Relations and had experience working for a company in the Action Sports Industry stateside. The job she got here was with an shoe company in the Action Sports Industry and according to her they find it difficult sometimes to find candidates that have not only the skill but also the experience in that particular industry.

That being said, my skill is graphic design/web design/web development but I have a background working in the Action Sports industry (doing all of those things) and also a background working in WordPress. So... if there's an action sports company here who needs a web designer/developer that knows WordPress then maybe I have a chance?! I'm sure it's not very likely.

I wasn't aware that you can't apply for jobs on a tourist visa. I had actually read the opposite somewhere. How do they expect you to do that then? Is there a special visitation visa just for job interviews?

I took French from 7th grade through college but since I stopped using it I don't remember much. I started the Rosetta Stone German language program but so far I've not learned much more than "The boy is eating." If I were to secure a German Freelance Visa you really think that knowing one of the official languages would be important for securing freelance work? Seems a lot of people also speak English.
Yes, but since they've introduced the quota limits for non-EU looking for jobs, they're not going to look kindly on these citizens arriving as tourists then trying to get a job once they're here. I would think you'd initially have a telephone conference call interview for any successful application, assuming you're outside of Switzerland, but whether they'd expect you to travel over for any subsequent ones I don't know.

Yes, many people speak English, but many more do not and would you, as a freelancer, want to limit your potential client base by not knowing the language? Certainly you wouldn't get any official documents in English so how would you know what you are signing?
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Old 13.12.2012, 15:39
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

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Yes, but since they've introduced the quota limits for non-EU looking for jobs, they're not going to look kindly on these citizens arriving as tourists then trying to get a job once they're here. I would think you'd initially have a telephone conference call interview for any successful application, assuming you're outside of Switzerland, but whether they'd expect you to travel over for any subsequent ones I don't know.

Yes, many people speak English, but many more do not and would you, as a freelancer, want to limit your potential client base by not knowing the language? Certainly you wouldn't get any official documents in English so how would you know what you are signing?
Hmm, I see. Well I haven't been job hunting at all since my arrival so I wasn't aware of that. Good to know.

As a freelancer of course it would be great to know other languages so that I have more business opportunity. But with the world doing business via the internet nowadays I am not too concerned. I have lived remotely from my clientele for quite some time so between American clients and English-speaking Europeans I am optimistic that I could get enough business. As far as getting official documents in another language...usually I'm the one giving my clients documents but if there were a case where I can't get an English version of something then hopefully my German-speaking boyfriend would be kind enough to translate for me.
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Old 13.12.2012, 17:50
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

Lindsey, I admire your American can-do optimism... but just so you go into this with eyes wide open, perhaps a read of this thread is in order:

Hiring stop for ALL Americans ?
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Old 13.12.2012, 18:24
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

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Hmm, I see. Well I haven't been job hunting at all since my arrival so I wasn't aware of that. Good to know.

As a freelancer of course it would be great to know other languages so that I have more business opportunity. But with the world doing business via the internet nowadays I am not too concerned. I have lived remotely from my clientele for quite some time so between American clients and English-speaking Europeans I am optimistic that I could get enough business. As far as getting official documents in another language...usually I'm the one giving my clients documents but if there were a case where I can't get an English version of something then hopefully my German-speaking boyfriend would be kind enough to translate for me.
He would have to be very kind indeed. Assuming you plan to actually rent and set up an office, there'll be the property rental agreement, any insurance and permit documents you need to start a business, terms and conditions and guarantees for all the office equipment you'll have to buy, etc. Oh, and of course, a bank account though you may be lucky there and can get documents in English. But that's likely to be the only thing that is in English in Germany or Switzerland for that matter. And that's assuming German banks aren't dumping/refusing American clients in the same way that the Swiss banks are. If they are, and you've already closed your US bank account, then you will have no way for clients to pay you other than with cash and you would have to do the same to pay your bills.
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Old 13.12.2012, 18:28
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

@meloncollie,
I'm surprised to hear you call me optimistic because I feel anything but that when it comes to getting a job in Switzerland. Do I think it's possible? Sure! Is it a big possibility? Certainly not!

Honestly my larger concern would be that when it comes down to it I would be putting in a ton of work to find a job and if one were offered it may not even be the ideal job for me...but I would feel forced to take it. I'm at a point in my career where I just won't do that. My overall happiness is much more important to me and working in a job everyday that I don't like is just not something I am willing to do.

That post has a lot of good information but seems to have more to do with financial related jobs. I would not be looking to work in a management position or be handling accounts. I do understand though that as an American I may just have a harder time of it.

So the route that I would more seriously consider is obtaining a German self-employment visa and continuing with the freelance business that I have built and hopefully add more European clients to my clientele so that I can charge European rates.

My optimism lies in the fact that I will find a way to work this out whether it means getting a job in Switzerland or not. I'm a firm believer that anything is possible.
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Old 13.12.2012, 18:32
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Re: Hoping to be here long term! ( Employment related thread )

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The other idea is to look into a German self-employment visa. Anyone have insight on that?
I suggest you visit and register at our sister site Toytown Germany.

http://www.toytowngermany.com/forum/
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Old 13.12.2012, 19:03
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Re: Hoping to be here long term! ( Employment related thread )

your best bet is to try with multinationals and see what happens. the permitting issue is always difficult for non-EU passport holders but it is hardly insurmountable and employers who navigate the permitting waters everyday will best know the ropes with the relevant kantonal authorities.

good luck!
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Old 13.12.2012, 19:18
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Re: Hoping to be here long term!

Well I need to look into all the ins and outs of running a freelance business obviously but I don't plan to rent or setup an office. At least not in the near future. I ran a business in the US so I know that there are lots of bureaucratic rings to jump through and of course I'll have to learn what they all are.

Considering I quit my job and came to Basel to see how this relationship would work out I'm sure my boyfriend will be more than happy to help however he can if it means my being able to legally stay here.

As far as banking and accepting payments. Online bank accounts in the U.S certainly work for me and paypal is an extremely easy way for clients to pay me. So is cash!


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He would have to be very kind indeed. Assuming you plan to actually rent and set up an office, there'll be the property rental agreement, any insurance and permit documents you need to start a business, terms and conditions and guarantees for all the office equipment you'll have to buy, etc. Oh, and of course, a bank account though you may be lucky there and can get documents in English. But that's likely to be the only thing that is in English in Germany or Switzerland for that matter. And that's assuming German banks aren't dumping/refusing American clients in the same way that the Swiss banks are. If they are, and you've already closed your US bank account, then you will have no way for clients to pay you other than with cash and you would have to do the same to pay your bills.
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Old 13.12.2012, 19:22
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Re: Hoping to be here long term! ( Employment related thread )

Thanks crazygringo! This is what my friend was telling me about her experience in getting a job here as an American. I'm still not sure if I want to be employed quite yet but I need to keep all my options open and if I see something that looks good there's no harm in going for it!

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your best bet is to try with multinationals and see what happens. the permitting issue is always difficult for non-EU passport holders but it is hardly insurmountable and employers who navigate the permitting waters everyday will best know the ropes with the relevant kantonal authorities.

good luck!
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