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Old 28.01.2013, 06:12
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Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Hello everyone

As I've already mentioned in the title, I would like to know how much the canton of Zurich is open for hiring and sponsoring foreign workers especially who are not EU citizens.

If I offer more background in writing this post is . . .

1) I am Korean in her mid-20's.
2) I am interested in getting a job in the canton of Zurich.
3) I am aware of the fact that foreign workers need the sponsorship from companies to obtain a proper work permit and, of course, a job position.
4) My Swiss friend in Winterthur offered me his place to stay 3 months (on a visitor's Visa) for job-hunting and see how it goes.

I wonder if it is actually worth to try #4 above. Hence I am trying to research information and need to find out how tough the Swiss job market is for non-EU, non-German-speaking foreigners.

I could provide detailed information of myself(like CV) in order to get more specific advice. However, I would like to first see how people's responses are here to get the general idea. Later on, if requested or needed, I could provide more info. For now, I can just add this;

1) I speak Korean (native, I know this one doesn't really help in finding a job) and English (Professional, graduated college in Canada)
2) I studied Computer Programming.
3) Non-German-speaker (of course I am willing to improve)
4) 1 year(programmer, Waterloo, Canada) and a half(project manager, Seoul, Korea) work experience.
5) As long as I can work in the canton of Zurich, I am very flexible about job fields.

Anyone has any advice if it's worth to try my friend's suggestion? If the hope for this is less than 30-40%, I'd better aim for attending school/ learning German/ etc.

I look forward to some genuine advice!
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Old 28.01.2013, 06:48
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Hi, some thoughts after reading your post:

-For you to find employment in Switzerland, in general, you must have unique job skills that your employer can demonstrate cannot be found in Switzerland nor the EU. I have heard various stories on the forum about how difficult this is, but my impression is that it does require some proving. 1.5 years experience may not be enough relevant experience to meet this criterion.

-Look in the employment section of the forum, and research some Swiss job-hunting sites to find positions in which you may be interested. This will allow you to discover if you have the necessary skills to find a position here.

-Research Swiss CV writing, and customize your CV to the Swiss market. Make contact with several recruiting managers at companies for whom you would like to work, and schedule as many interviews as you can prior to arrival.

-Last, bring lots of money; you've picked an expensive place to live while job-hunting without a job.
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Old 28.01.2013, 07:32
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Hi Jobsrobertsharpii,

Thanks you so much for your advice. I guess I can say that if foreign candidates don't have unique job skills, Swiss job market could be seen as very tough. I will look into job listings to get better ideas on what kind of jobs available for my CV. Thanks again!

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Hi, some thoughts after reading your post:

-For you to find employment in Switzerland, in general, you must have unique job skills that your employer can demonstrate cannot be found in Switzerland nor the EU. I have heard various stories on the forum about how difficult this is, but my impression is that it does require some proving. 1.5 years experience may not be enough relevant experience to meet this criterion.

-Look in the employment section of the forum, and research some Swiss job-hunting sites to find positions in which you may be interested. This will allow you to discover if you have the necessary skills to find a position here.

-Research Swiss CV writing, and customize your CV to the Swiss market. Make contact with several recruiting managers at companies for whom you would like to work, and schedule as many interviews as you can prior to arrival.

-Last, bring lots of money; you've picked an expensive place to live while job-hunting without a job.
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Old 28.01.2013, 08:16
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

You're not allowed to job hunt while here as a tourist. That's partly why the whole quota restrictions business was brought in; many people from outside the EU were coming here as tourists just to job hunt. If you get caught not only could you be deported, but probably banned from entering the country for many years.

Like Jobsrobertsharpii, I doubt your work experience is enough to make you a viable candidate. There are plenty of computer programmers, both Swiss and EU citizens, whom employers can hire without the time consuming and expensive hassle of "third country" applications. Plus you need to check that your qualifications are accepted here, many aren't.
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Old 28.01.2013, 08:25
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Medea Fleecestealer,

Oh dear. I had no idea that I am not allowed to do job-hunting with a tourist visa. That's really good to know !! Thanks a lot.

I guess it is better for me to study than to work in Switzerland considering my lack of work expertise.

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You're not allowed to job hunt while here as a tourist. That's partly why the whole quota restrictions business was brought in; many people from outside the EU were coming here as tourists just to job hunt. If you get caught not only could you be deported, but probably banned from entering the country for many years.

Like Jobsrobertsharpii, I doubt your work experience is enough to make you a viable candidate. There are plenty of computer programmers, both Swiss and EU citizens, whom employers can hire without the time consuming and expensive hassle of "third country" applications. Plus you need to check that your qualifications are accepted here, many aren't.
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Old 28.01.2013, 08:44
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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Medea Fleecestealer,

Oh dear. I had no idea that I am not allowed to do job-hunting with a tourist visa. That's really good to know !! Thanks a lot.

I guess it is better for me to study than to work in Switzerland considering my lack of work expertise.
Yes, you can certainly do that. You're allowed to get a part time job when studying here so you might be able to build on your experience to add to your CV. If you study here and learn German at the same time, again that will help for the job hunting and for the permit renewal integration requirements if you plan to be here for some years.
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Old 28.01.2013, 09:25
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Recommend you aim for big companies in Switzerland with a presence in East Asia, especially Korea (SMI companies like Novartis, Nestlé and UBS or other large companies like Glencore). Try their graduate recruiting schemes, they always have demand for IS skills.

As a non-EU citizen, if you can attract the interest of these large companies, your chances will be pretty good. These firms are crucial economic engines for the Swiss economy, especially at a time when the country is seeking economic opportunities and growth in non-EU emerging markets to offset the decline in the EU economy.

Also, these large companies are big tax contributors to Cantonal and Federal budgets; they certainly can get anyone they want and they know which strings to pull (you might not get the coveted open B permit at the beginning, but they'll get you in on an L most likely, which will later progress to a B). I'm speaking of personal experience here (I hold two non-EU passports and am now in Switzerland with a C Permit; I moved here with ZERO work experience, a non-Swiss CV and ZERO Swiss connection at the time), PM me if you want more details and hints.

Last edited by brusch; 28.01.2013 at 09:47.
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Old 28.01.2013, 09:46
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

brusch,

Thanks for your positive message. I will certainly PM you for details soon.

I agree that it could work if I aim for companies like Nestle-big presence in Korea.

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Recommend you aim for big companies in Switzerland with a presence in East Asia, especially Korea (SMI companies like Novartis, Nestlé and UBS or other large companies like Glencore). Try their graduate recruiting schemes, they always have demand for IS skills.

As a non-EU citizen, if you can attract the interest of these large companies, your chances will be pretty good. These firms are crucial economic engines for the Swiss economy, especially at a time when the country is seeking economic opportunities and growth in non-EU emerging markets to offset the decline in the EU economy.

Also, these large companies are big tax contributors to Cantonal and Federal budgets; they certainly can get anyone they want and they know which strings to pull (you might not get the coveted open B permit at the beginning, but they'll get you in on an L most likely, which will later progress to a B). I'm speaking of personal experience here (I hold two non-EU passports and am now in Switzerland with a C Permit; I moved here with ZERO work experience), PM me if you want more details and hints.
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Old 28.01.2013, 10:07
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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You're not allowed to job hunt while here as a tourist. That's partly why the whole quota restrictions business was brought in; many people from outside the EU were coming here as tourists just to job hunt. If you get caught not only could you be deported, but probably banned from entering the country for many years.

Like Jobsrobertsharpii, I doubt your work experience is enough to make you a viable candidate. There are plenty of computer programmers, both Swiss and EU citizens, whom employers can hire without the time consuming and expensive hassle of "third country" applications. Plus you need to check that your qualifications are accepted here, many aren't.
That's the theory on how permit applications work. True for small to mid-size companies, but quite different for large companies which have cantonal governments by the cojones when it comes to tax receipts (I read somewhere that Credit Suisse and UBS alone accounted for 25% of the budget of Kanton Zürich at one time.

I've known plenty of non-EU citizens (myself excluded), some with zero work experience and zero knowledge of local language, get work permits with big Swiss companies. As a matter of fact, when I was being interviewed and the work permit issue popped up, the interviewer smiled and said "we'll probably just push it through harder when applying". And this was 7 years ago when the Swiss-EU bilateral accords were in full force.

A buddy of mine from Novartis joked that HR would send out multiple non-EU permit applications in one email and would get a quick email approval from Kanton Basel-Stadt.
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Old 28.01.2013, 13:56
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Medea Fleecestealer,

In fact, my Swiss friend just double-checked this with the Swiss government by making a phone call. It turned out that it is indeed not allowed to do job-hunting while on a tourist visa. I think this information is very useful for anyone who is in the similar situation as I am and possibly reading this thread.

Thanks again!

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You're not allowed to job hunt while here as a tourist. That's partly why the whole quota restrictions business was brought in; many people from outside the EU were coming here as tourists just to job hunt. If you get caught not only could you be deported, but probably banned from entering the country for many years.

Like Jobsrobertsharpii, I doubt your work experience is enough to make you a viable candidate. There are plenty of computer programmers, both Swiss and EU citizens, whom employers can hire without the time consuming and expensive hassle of "third country" applications. Plus you need to check that your qualifications are accepted here, many aren't.
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Old 28.01.2013, 14:18
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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Medea Fleecestealer,

In fact, my Swiss friend just double-checked this with the Swiss government by making a phone call. It turned out that it is indeed not allowed to do job-hunting while on a tourist visa. I think this information is very useful for anyone who is in the similar situation as I am and possibly reading this thread.

Thanks again!
I'm afraid many people think it is easy to come here as a tourist and get a job. What they don't realise is how seriously the Swiss can take exception to them doing this; it's very much jobs for the Swiss first where at all possible so people trying to "jump the queue" as it were are not looked on favourably.

I'm glad you know now and hope that you can get yourself here legally, either via a job offer or study possibility. The opportunities are there, it's just harder for those like to you find and win them.

There's nothing to stop you coming here for up to 3 months as a tourist and doing some research on the spot, so long as you don't actually apply for a job. It would give you the chance to find out what might be available and whether you'd actually like living/working here. There's only so much research you can do on the Internet; sometimes you also need to experience things for yourself before taking things further.
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Old 28.01.2013, 14:37
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Yes, but what do you define as "job-hunting"?

I came to Switzerland in 2005 for a few days with the sole purpose of having an interview with a swiss company (which invited me) and was thus technically still "job-hunting". How else would Swiss companies be able to interview foreigners?
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Old 28.01.2013, 14:40
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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Yes, but what do you define as "job-hunting"?

I came to Switzerland in 2005 for a few days with the sole purpose of having an interview with a swiss company (which invited me) and was thus technically still "job-hunting". How else would Swiss companies be able to interview foreigners?
Technically, you cannot look for a job while in Switzerland, but you can look for one from outside of Switzerland, which is what you did.

That is the difference.

So, if you contact a company while not in Switzerland, you can then come for interviews, etc., with that company (or companies), but you are not allowed to contact new companies while here as a tourist.

Tom
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Old 28.01.2013, 14:47
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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Technically, you cannot look for a job while in Switzerland, but you can look for one from outside of Switzerland, which is what you did.

That is the difference.

So, if you contact a company while not in Switzerland, you can then come for interviews, etc., with that company (or companies), but you are not allowed to contact new companies while here as a tourist.

Tom
So, just send out your CVs to all companies that interest you before arriving in Switzerland, then if they get back to while you are here, that's technically not a new contact.

Or, if you want to contact new companies, hop over to an Internet café in Konstanz or any other border town and send off your CV
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Old 28.01.2013, 14:55
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Yes, exactly. You came here at the specific request of the company looking to hire you, not as a tourist coming to see the sights and attractions of Switzerland who happened to find a job along the way.

YuJin could visit as a tourist and talk to her friend's friends to find out more about their jobs and how they find working conditions here, look at employment agency jobs on offer in their display windows to find more possibilities, check out apartment rental costs and get an idea of prices for things like food, insurances, etc, but she can't actually go to a company/agency and apply for a job.
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Old 28.01.2013, 23:31
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

Considering that you are in your mid 20s, You can have a go at:
graduate schemes offered by Swiss multinationals
(in-direct route) finding a job with an offshore subsidiary of a Swiss company and get transferred here. I know few people who ended up here this way.

Good luck!
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Old 29.01.2013, 06:52
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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Medea Fleecestealer,

In fact, my Swiss friend just double-checked this with the Swiss government by making a phone call. It turned out that it is indeed not allowed to do job-hunting while on a tourist visa. I think this information is very useful for anyone who is in the similar situation as I am and possibly reading this thread.

Thanks again!
I have contacted the Embassy of Switzerland in Seoul about job-hunting on a tourist Visa and I got the following email reply.

Quote:
Dear Madam/Sir,

Thank you for your e-mail.

You may search for a job in Switzerland while you are visiting friends and family in Switzerland.

However, if you have found a job you must apply for a work visa in your country of residency and the company in Switzerland has to apply for a work permit.

Please refer to our website: www.eda.admin.ch/seoul for further information on how to apply for a work visa.

Best regards,

For the Ambassador of Switzerland

Vice-Consul

DFA FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Embassy of Switzerland Seoul
Summing up all discussions here and two different replies from Swiss government-related organizations, I personally think that one "could" try job-hunting with a tourist Visa ONLY IF she/he does it in a "very cautious" manner with "smart strategies/plans."

It is a definitely good idea to apply as many jobs as possible while being outside Switzerland and then try to set up interviews ahead.
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Old 29.01.2013, 07:46
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Re: Is Zurich area open to hiring non-EU foreign workers in general?

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I have contacted the Embassy of Switzerland in Seoul about job-hunting on a tourist Visa and I got the following email reply.



Summing up all discussions here and two different replies from Swiss government-related organizations, I personally think that one "could" try job-hunting with a tourist Visa ONLY IF she/he does it in a "very cautious" manner with "smart strategies/plans."

It is a definitely good idea to apply as many jobs as possible while being outside Switzerland and then try to set up interviews ahead.
If I were you, I would go with the information from your friend which he "got from the horse's mouth," directly in Switzerland and not from Seoul. Consulates outside of Switzerland can sometimes give misinformation, thereby, putting you in jeopardy. Did you tell the counsel in Seoul what your friend told you from Switzerland?
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