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Old 21.03.2015, 10:43
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English teaching jobs in Zürich

Hello everyone!

I just registered and would love to share my situation and get any advice/suggestions about my upcoming move to Zürich, which will be this August.

Ok, so I'm an American teaching English in Japan (for 3.5 years) and I started working at a private university last September. During the 3.5 years, I've taught 5 year olds up to 85 year old Japanese citizens.

I've been reading about needing a TEFL or CELTA certification to teach English there, but I'm wondering if it's necessary since I have 1) a BA degree; however, it's not related to teaching (Criminology, Law, and Society)
2) a masters degree in Education (specializing in School Counseling, not teaching) and
3) about 5 years teaching experience (substitute teacher in California and teaching English in Japan).

On the other hand, I do NOT have a teaching credential from the U.S., but I passed the CBEST in order to substitute teach. If possible, I'd love to do some type of School Counseling, but it looks like there are more opportunities to teach English.

I've also heard I can't "look" for work while I'm on a tourist visa; however, I've heard the opposite and that most people go that route. Is it possible to just go for a month and land an English teaching job within a month?

Also, would it be worth it to stay at my private university job in Japan for an additional year or would it be fine to have 11 months of experience? I'm contemplating staying in Japan longer if it'll really increase my chances of obtaining a "good" English teaching position in Switzerland...maybe at university. However, I know that there are more qualified English teachers and I've read that those jobs are very hard to come by.

These are my main concerns for now. Any help or insight on what you know or your personal experience would be greatly appreciated!!

I apologize in advance for the many questions I'll be asking in the near future!

Thank you for your time!
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Old 21.03.2015, 10:53
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Why are you coming to Switzerland? With a husband/wife who has a visa? As a student? Do you have an EU passport?

I'm not a language teacher, but I believe teaching English as a foreign language jobs are hard to come by and it's hard to get a job with full time hours.

English teachers in Europe aren't in short supply, so it's unlikely you'll get a residence permit, if you need one.

Also most Swiss come out of school already speaking English, so there is not much demand. There is more need for German teachers for us immigrants.
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Old 21.03.2015, 10:59
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

to be fair, around here there is a demand for language teachers as even if the swiss can speak the language it isn't sufficient for teaching nor at a level of mastery for teaching- so often native speakers are wanted. but, as an american, you will be very, very hard pressed to find any employer that will hire you and apply for a permit on your behalf (or whatever it is that they need to do) as there is plenty of other easier options for them. i teach here, but i have a masters+ in esl, linguistics and i am married to a european- so it was a lot easier. if you are bent on teaching here, i guess i would say to do your time in university here and explore options before. have you visited? lived here for a bit? i would try to spend time here before even exploring other options, you may be surprised and change your mind. good luck!
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Old 21.03.2015, 11:17
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Thank you for your replies.

I'm actually going there because my German fiancé will have a job there. He can also work in Germany....I've read that there could be more English teaching opps there.

Anyway, no, I haven't been there, but it can't be worse than where I am in Japan (I'm ready for a change anyway!). He's also open to moving to another place (Germany or London) if things aren't working out for me in Switzerland.
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Old 21.03.2015, 11:23
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

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I'm actually going there because my German fiancé will have a job there. He can also work in Germany....
Ok. If you get a permit through your fiancé, you will have a much better chance of finding work, than if you are looking for a job where the employer has to get you a permit.

However. You and your fiancé would have to live together in Switzerland for this to work. Or you would have to live and work in Germany with him and forget Switzerland. You need to organise this before leaving Japan, you can't come as a tourist and then sort it all out.

Try contacting some language schools and finding out how easy it is to get work once you have a permit. They will know better than us…. although there are a few language teachers on here.
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Old 21.03.2015, 11:38
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Thank you again for your reply.

Ok, I see. Do you think or know if there are other jobs (e.g. admin assistant) looking for a native English speaker that would provide a permit? I'm thinking I can do something else for the time being since we aren't getting married for another year.

I've read that I can stay for 3 months, but after that I have to leave for one month and then can return for only another 3 months. So we would definitely be taking a chance that I find something. Hmmmm.

Thanks again.
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Old 21.03.2015, 16:34
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

If you come on a fiancée permit I'm not sure it will allow you to work until you actually get married. This is something you'd need to check with the Zurich migration office.

As for getting a permit independently of your fiancé's, as a non-EU you're last in the hiring queue behind the Swiss/EU nationals and anyone else who lives here who already has a Swiss permit. The process is time consuming and expensive for employers (they have to apply for the permit, you can't) so they will only do it if they think they have a good chance of succes. The process is outlined here:

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home...zulassung.html

There is nothing to stop you from looking for a job while you're here as a tourist. But until the permit application from any prospective employer has been approved you can't work. Also you would need a Type D visa to enter Switzerland long term legally and this has to be applied for in either your home country of your country of current residence. So technically you would need to go back to either the States or Japan to apply for the visa and wait there for it to be stamped in your passport if the permit is approved. You will need one of these if you go the fiancée permit route too btw.

German hiring rules are almost the same:

http://www.nrwinvest.com/Business_Gu...ees1/index.php

There may be a few other job possibilities, but without speaking a Swiss language as well I think they will be very limited. So if you do move here that should be your first priority, learn German - also useful if you decide Switzerland isn't for you and move to Germany later.

You would also need to have any teaching qualifications recognised. Here's a link to the various organisations that do this, depending on your field.

http://www.sbfi.admin.ch/diploma/017...x.html?lang=en

I'm not convinced that your degrees would land you a teaching job here as neither of them are actual teaching degrees. Counselling may be possible, but again you need the Swiss language as well.

No, you can't stay for 3 months, leave for a month, and then come back again. You have to leave for 3 months before you're allowed to return.

Frankly, you'd probably be better to stay in Japan and visit back and forth. Plan to get married in Japan, America or Germany if you can as it's likely to be quicker and easier to do than in Switzerland and then you won't have the permit problem either. You'll get the same permit as your husband with full work rights as well.
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Old 23.03.2015, 14:17
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

My impression is that the demand for English teachers is greater in the French speaking regions. I teach English in the French region myself and was extremely lucky to get the job I have now - I got it through my network, and very often thats how you get these jobs, at my job they only very rarely post teaching positions (right now we are 5 English teachers and none of us got our jobs through ads). Plus, it is very difficult to get enough hours, right now I'm barely afloat making between 1300 and 1800 a month working 20-30%, income is not steady at all and hours are scattered throughout mornings, evenings and saturdays. It's good work if you can get it as a temporary solution but I would really not want to do this for a long time, I'm only doing it while I'm hunting for a 100% job (not in teaching) and my husband earns a quite decent salary which takes some pressure off for me. I have met many native English speaking foreigners here who did the CELTA and have been unable to find teaching jobs, so don't rely too much on teaching English as your long term plan but be willing to take any job you come by, learn German and don't wait a year to get married if you want to have a chance here. Sorry to confirm the harsh reality, but rest assured that the majority of trailing spouses have difficulties starting over here, it is not an easy place to come to. But it can be done
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Old 15.04.2015, 06:18
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Okay, so my German fiance was just offered a position in Zurich so we're definitely going to be living there.

For now, teaching English will be my main route for employment (for now). Yes, I know the work permit will be an issue, but we're going to take the risk and hope it all works out. He's been told by his Swiss friends (they know other none Swiss/EU) that the immigration office is very helpful and my fiance is confident it'll work out; a risk we're willing to take until we cross that bridge. However, any suggestions or experiences would still be appreciated.

He'll make a decent salary, so it won't be a biggie if I don't get a f/t English teaching job immediately. Yes, I will be on a "tourist visa" and it doesn't seem like (from what I've read) schools won't bother giving work permits? Anyway, our main concern is that I can stay there with him (via work visa, partnership visa, student visa, etc.) until we get married. So any insight or experiences in this area would be helpful.

Even though I'm not supposed to "look for work" while on a tourist visa, if I do find p/t work, do they usually ask to see a work visa, etc? I know state-run/public schools are by the book, but what about the hotel or private schools?

Also, I'm in the process of choosing between taking the online TEFL, CELTA, or DELTA. I'd rather take the 120 hour TEFL course since I'm working f/t in Japan and they seem to be more flexible (finish in 1-3 months). I'm hoping I can get it done before I arrive in August. Yet, I'm reading how it's important that these companies are accredited and so I've read the reviews.....so far mytefl.net looks good and their cost is low. Anyone know about them or can suggest another legit online TEFL program (assuming that certificate will suffice)? Will the TEFL suffice along with my 5+ years teaching experience (substituted in LA and teaching Eng in Japan for 3.5 years now)? I do have an MS in Education, but granted, it's in School Counseling (not teaching).

Please feel free to add anything that could be useful! Sorry for the long post! Thank you again for all your advice and suggestions.
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Old 15.04.2015, 09:25
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

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Okay, so my German fiance was just offered a position in Zurich so we're definitely going to be living there.

For now, teaching English will be my main route for employment (for now). Yes, I know the work permit will be an issue, but we're going to take the risk and hope it all works out. He's been told by his Swiss friends (they know other none Swiss/EU) that the immigration office is very helpful and my fiance is confident it'll work out; a risk we're willing to take until we cross that bridge. However, any suggestions or experiences would still be appreciated.

He'll make a decent salary, so it won't be a biggie if I don't get a f/t English teaching job immediately. Yes, I will be on a "tourist visa" and it doesn't seem like (from what I've read) schools won't bother giving work permits? Anyway, our main concern is that I can stay there with him (via work visa, partnership visa, student visa, etc.) until we get married. So any insight or experiences in this area would be helpful.

Even though I'm not supposed to "look for work" while on a tourist visa, if I do find p/t work, do they usually ask to see a work visa, etc? I know state-run/public schools are by the book, but what about the hotel or private schools?

Also, I'm in the process of choosing between taking the online TEFL, CELTA, or DELTA. I'd rather take the 120 hour TEFL course since I'm working f/t in Japan and they seem to be more flexible (finish in 1-3 months). I'm hoping I can get it done before I arrive in August. Yet, I'm reading how it's important that these companies are accredited and so I've read the reviews.....so far mytefl.net looks good and their cost is low. Anyone know about them or can suggest another legit online TEFL program (assuming that certificate will suffice)? Will the TEFL suffice along with my 5+ years teaching experience (substituted in LA and teaching Eng in Japan for 3.5 years now)? I do have an MS in Education, but granted, it's in School Counseling (not teaching).

Please feel free to add anything that could be useful! Sorry for the long post! Thank you again for all your advice and suggestions.
Well, I hate to disillusion you, but Zurich migration office usually ISN'T very helpful. Turning up on a tourist visa and then trying to convert it to a Type D one will only result in them telling you to go back to Japan and apply from there. You will not be given a permit as you haven't gone through the proper procedure to get one. At the moment you and he are considered as separate people, not as a couple, which is why he needs to apply for either a fiancée or concubine permit for you NOW!

Yes, any employer is going to ask to see your work permit. Why would you think they wouldn't? They could face a fine of CHF500,000 and a year in prison if they're found to be employing illegals. You would also face a fine of CHF20,000 and a year in prison for working here illegally.

Working and staying illegally in Switzerland

Is that something you really want to risk?

You've been given good advice in this thead, yet you seem determined to ignore it. A few months apart won't kill you, you know, if that's what it takes to do things properly. And surely it's better than risking a fine, prison and being banned from entering Switzerland for at least a year, if not longer.

If you do decide to play by the rules then this may be useful for calculating your 3 monthly stay periods while you sort out the permit side of things.

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm...tsrechner.html
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Old 15.04.2015, 09:35
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

I work as a tefl teacher in zug, near zurich. You will need a CELTA qualification to teach English here at the very least. You may be able to get some private jobs not through schools without it but the language schools will require it at the very least for their own regulations.

You will also need a work permit before you apply for jobs and an AHV number so the language school can sort out your tax and AHV contributions. Language schools are usually smaller businesses who don't have the resources to sort out a work permit for you.

Someone has already said it but the immigration offices are not helpful. They are only concerned with ticking their boxes and cannot think outside those boxes.mtheis is often the case with most swiss organisations and institutions. It is frustrating sometimes but you will have to get used to that.

Good luck with your move.
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Old 15.04.2015, 11:12
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Thank you for the useful feedback even if someone's delivery wasn't very warm...it's still appreciated.

Thank you so much for the CELTA and AHV info.....I'll look into that! Glad to hear a couple people dismiss that the immigration office is really helpful. He'll still go in before I get there to see what he can find out on his own.

I'm not determined to ignore the useful info and why I need to be there in August isn't something I need to share since it's very personal; let's keep the judgments at the door.

Some other new info comes up and some people can be pessimistic and have had a bad run because of their attitudes or whatever their situation is or was. Nonetheless, too much information is never a bad thing so I'm definitely gathering all I can. So many people have told me the exact opposite so, again, too much info won't hurt.

I've also heard of private lessons where work visas aren't checked since it's a private 1-on-1 lesson....a friend of a friend. Didn't hurt to ask. Of course, I'm not going to walk into a school and ask to work knowing I don't have my proper work in place and I'm not going to announce it in public and risk it all.

I'll risk what I wish if it's not a major risk. Obviously, we won't risk me being deported and not being able to return to the country. Nonetheless, it'll be our decision what we ultimately do in the end.

Thank you again for the additional feedback!...and thank you for wishing me luck! I'm sure it'll work out (somehow).
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Old 15.04.2015, 11:54
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Well, I just hope I'm being pessimistic for your sake. Let us know what happens, one way or another, as feedback on the immigration side is always useful to have in case others find themselves in the same situation.

Good luck!
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Old 15.04.2015, 17:59
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

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I'll risk what I wish if it's not a major risk. Obviously, we won't risk me being deported and not being able to return to the country. Nonetheless, it'll be our decision what we ultimately do in the end.
By doing any work, even private 1 to 1, you are risking exactly that. It is unlikely but not impossible they deport you with nice stamp in your passport (It will apply to all Schengen countries of course, not just CH)
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Old 15.04.2015, 23:02
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

its clear you've never been to Switzerland. honestly, they will boot you out if you try and wing it. The swiss are already starting to cut but on the number of foreign workers, so dont be surprised if you get sent packing.
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Old 15.04.2015, 23:20
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

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Ok. If you get a permit through your fiancé, you will have a much better chance of finding work, than if you are looking for a job where the employer has to get you a permit.

However. You and your fiancé would have to live together in Switzerland for this to work. Or you would have to live and work in Germany with him and forget Switzerland. You need to organise this before leaving Japan, you can't come as a tourist and then sort it all out...
OP please read this advice again and listen to it. Don't make things harder for yourself than they need to be. Your two best options are:

1. Get married before you come here, so you are on a family reunification permit. Then it doesn't matter if you're EU or not you receive the same permit your husband does. You can do the legal bit first and have the party later, many people do. Edit - This will make you much more attractive to potential employers, as they don't need to do anything special to hire you. Just sign a contract.

2. Look into a concubine permit with the Zürich authorities. Your fiancé would need to prove he makes enough money to support you both (rough figure is 100 CHF per person, per day) and that the flat is large enough for both of you. He'd also probably have to sign financial responsibility for you for 5 years. I believe you would still be subject to the non-EU hiring rules, as you wouldn't yet be married...but at least you'd be here legally long-term as opposed to being a tourist.

I don't recommend trying to convert your permit after arriving as a tourist. Although we've seen a few stories where it worked the vast majority it didn't and the person had to leave. The rules are very clear you need to apply for your D-visa from outside CH, and the paperwork here takes a long time to grind through the system. It's not uncommon to run out of your 90 days before the paperwork is sorted.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 15.04.2015 at 23:21. Reason: forgot a sentence.
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Old 16.04.2015, 00:07
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Re: English teaching jobs in Zürich

Thanks for the feedback. We discussed it further and we're definitely going to look into a different type of visa......not a tourist visa. We just don't want to feel pressured into getting married and want it to happen when we want. So the concubine info was great and we'll check all of the other types of visas (excluding the tourist visa).

So far 1 person suggested obtaining the CELTA. Thank you.

Thanks again for all the feedback.
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