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Old 23.09.2014, 12:06
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Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Hi, I am a Non-EU and have been working at a foreign subsidiary of a large Swiss company and have been offered a contract to relocate to Zürich, where the headquarter is located.

Here goes my first question:
They gave me my Swiss contract and submitted my application file around the beginning of September. The starting date on the contract says Oct 1. HR told me to expect an answer in 3 to 4 weeks - is this even possible (by their definition, my permit should be issued in time for oct 1)? But everywhere I read says around 6 to 8 weeks and the immigration office does not expedite the process based on the starting date. How long can I expect before receiving an answer on my work permit?

Secondly, what are the chances of my permit getting approved?

Just a little background: I've worked with the company already for over 1.5 years and prior to that, also wrote my Master's thesis with the company. My relocated position in Zürich is in the field of Strategy. It would be targeted towards my homecountry (let's say Country X) and also happen to be the largest market for the company. The main job responsibility is a match to what I did for my Master's degree and I would be a bridge between the headquarter and Country X to coordinate project implementations.

HR did a search on both Swiss and European job sites (incl. local RAV) and only a few applications were submitted. Of those submitted applications, I believe none of them has the industry experience.

As the starting date on the contract is only in a week or so and I have yet to receive any news, I am starting to panic a bit. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much :-)
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Old 23.09.2014, 12:12
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

The fact that the company submitted all of the paperwork for you is in your favor.

You really shouldn't panic, maybe reach out to them and let them know that you haven't receive any news yet. I'm sure they can push back the starting date to when you receive your work visa.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 23.09.2014, 12:33
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

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The fact that the company submitted all of the paperwork for you is in your favor.
I beg to differ. Having worked in this area, I've seen plenty of permit applications being handed in just for the sake of "trying", all the while well being aware that it won't work out. And that was in almost all cases because the business who was interested in the candidate outright refused to accept HR's input and assessment that chances of approval were slim to none and/or was simply too coward to tell the candidate that there was no chance. So they handed over that responsibility to the "bad bad migration office" (and "bad bad HR")

OP, there is no estimate as to what your chances are. No one here can give you that and not even the migration office can.

Generally, as a relatively recent graduate, you don't stand the best chances. Sorry for being so direct, but it's reality. I understand you graduated some 1.5 years ago and are as such very junior, very early career and generally speaking, for respective roles, there are plenty of suitable candidates in either Switzerland and if not here, then certainly in EU/EFTA. That is some 400 million people alone.

That being said, it might work in your favor that you've been with the company for a while already, albeit not locally. There seems to be enough specialization to maybe favor you over other candidates - although frankly, everyone claims that the job requires a specialist and it's often not exactly true. Strategy generally isn't a specialty where there's a severe shortage of talent, though of course in a specific situation, industry, market or company it might just be - I guess this is simply up to whoever assesses your application at the migration office. And if your company has indeed done a proper search on the Swiss and EU markets and can indeed prove that there were no suitable candidates, this application might just be approved.

Again, no estimate can be given by anyone and even if it could, what good would it do if anyone here said "you have a 35% chance of getting the permit"? It doesn't help.

Your HR doesn't have a solid take on the timelines - 3-4 weeks is NOT realistic, it is 6-8, sometimes even 10-12 weeks. You can't expedite the process. You can start inquiring once the minimum time (6 weeks) have passed, but even then I wouldn't expect too much feedback. It takes however long it takes - and that will likely more or less be the answer you'll get from the authorities too... So wait and be patient, fingers crossed...
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Old 23.09.2014, 12:50
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Thank you both for your replies!

Very informative! I guess we have to wait and see how long it will take. But now at least I won't be always "alert" on when the answer will come.

Sorry, I forgot to also add that I actually start with the company, following the Master's thesis collaboration, a 3-months internship period at the headquarter in Zuerich. My job title would also be Strategy Country X so let's hope those two hold up enough ground to the authorities.

Anyways, is it true that usually HR would be contacted when a decision comes from the Cantonal office and then again from the FOM?
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Old 23.09.2014, 13:30
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

The process seems to be followed correctly. You just need to wait now. My application was approved in 4 weeks. Don't forget that as a non-EU you will need to get the working entry visa in the embassy prior coming to Switzerland. That said I doubt you could start October, the 1st. I'm sure your HR understands this and would be able to shift the first working day accordingly.
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Old 23.09.2014, 13:50
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

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Anyways, is it true that usually HR would be contacted when a decision comes from the Cantonal office and then again from the FOM?
Yes it will be sent to the company as they handed in the application. The application goes through three authorities, two cantonal, one federal (local office for economy and labor, federal office of migration, cantonal office for justice and security).

The company will receive a permit approval (provided obviously it will be approved). You then need to go to the nearest embassy of your home country (if you already live abroad, to whichever one is nearest in that country) to pick up your entry visa, which will be processed with/in your passport. Once in Switzerland, you need to go to the local authority who will process your actual permit and issue the respective permit card.

Agree with previous poster, 1 Oct is not a realistic start date and if I were you, I'd reach out to HR to inquire how to deal with the situation. What we usually did/do is simply postpone the start date and adapt the contract accordingly.

Do NOT enter Switzerland before you have approval. Even if you could enter visa-free as a tourist (depends on your nationality), you can NOT pick up your visa/permit here and would need to leave again to pick it up. So wherever you are right now, wait there
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Old 24.09.2014, 06:34
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Great, fingers crossed and glad to keep you posted!!!

Hopefully everything will work out in the end...
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Old 24.09.2014, 10:22
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Hi Tsang26.
My permit was approved in 3 weeks, but HR did tell me it might take 6-8 weeks. I was actually surprised it was so quick. I guess the reason was I had a short-term work permit for the same company already and so I just had to submit some extra documents to HR and my records were still with the authorities.
I am also non-EU and have been working in several foreign branches of a company headquartered in Zurich before being relocated.
I wish you all the best.
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Old 24.09.2014, 13:02
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Congrats to getting your permit!

May I ask what kind of short-term work permit you had prior to the relocation?

I reached out to HR already so hopefully they would come back to me with an answer soon...
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Old 25.09.2014, 00:12
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

sorry but what is country X? you can name the country; it is easier than writing it like a formula

did you employer has experience in the area? are there other non-eu people in the company? then it should not be a problem

if HR has no experience in employing non-EU, and they apply w/out a lawyer..etc. it can be tricky
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Old 25.09.2014, 04:53
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Yep I believe they are working with a lawyer company to submit the application file on my behalf :-)

Just that I came across various occassions where I read stories of people getting their work permit denied, so that pushed me to the edge of my seat a bit.

But anyways, only the authorities make the decision. so I keep my fingers crossed in the meantime!
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Old 25.09.2014, 10:20
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

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Congrats to getting your permit!

May I ask what kind of short-term work permit you had prior to the relocation?

I reached out to HR already so hopefully they would come back to me with an answer soon...
That was a 6 month L permit.
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Old 06.10.2014, 09:54
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Hi again, I am thinking about calling the migration office to ask if its possible to know at which stage my permit is at...

On the website, there are two offices: Migrationsamt and Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit (AWA), would anyone know which is the right one to call?

Thank you!
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Old 26.06.2015, 16:31
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Hi tsang26 !

Picking up this old thread, I was wondering if you finally got your work permit ? How long did it actually took?
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Old 07.07.2015, 22:42
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Hi goingdigital!

Yes, I got my permit approved and received an L that is renewable for up to two years :-) The entire process took roughly 3.5 months though...

good luck with your application!
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Old 09.07.2015, 14:06
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Hi Tsang26,

Thanks a lot for your reply and congratulations !
Yeah i'm just keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for a reply from the authorities.
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Old 16.10.2016, 10:29
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Hi Tsang, picking up an old thread....did you receive the work authorisation in 3•5 months or it was probably some later steps of getting the actual permit. How long did the work authorisation take?

Thank you for your response in advance.

Regards,

N

Last edited by 3Wishes; 16.10.2016 at 15:29. Reason: fixed typo, merged replies
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Old 03.11.2016, 00:10
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

Dear all,

I am a non eu individual working in Germany for around 3 years and i have also done MBA from reputed bschool. I had received a job offer from a company in Switzerland in the area of online marketing. And after over9 weeks of application, I learned today that my application is rejected by Federal.

Canton and HR of the organistation proposed me to now reapply but for a dependent permit ad my husband who is also non eu is currently working in Zurich on 3 year temporary contract. HR told me as soon as i would have dependent permit from Zurich they would reapply from solothurn canton for work permit for me.
But i am not so much convinced with this reasoning as my I read everywhere that L dependent permit is not easily converted to working permit. Is it right?
Also what would be the chances of approval if the federal have already rejected once.
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Old 03.11.2016, 13:36
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

To get the non-EU dependent L permit working permission you have to meet the requirement you are a specialist and no one else is as qualified as you who is Swiss/EU applies to the job. The decision is made at the AWA office, and I believe you will have to meet the same requirements as if you were applying for the non-EU L permit yourself. I believe you'll get the same decision back as the first time.

It wouldn't be subject to the quotas to get work permission. So this means if it was only an issue with not enough permits left due to quotas it could work out you get the work permission.
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Old 03.11.2016, 13:48
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Re: Non EU work permit processing time and chances of approval

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Canton and HR of the organistation proposed me to now reapply but for a dependent permit ad my husband who is also non eu is currently working in Zurich on 3 year temporary contract. HR told me as soon as i would have dependent permit from Zurich they would reapply from solothurn canton for work permit for me.
But i am not so much convinced with this reasoning as my I read everywhere that L dependent permit is not easily converted to working permit. Is it right?
Also what would be the chances of approval if the federal have already rejected once.
So your husband has an L? Chances you'll get a dependent permit WITH permission to work on an L are slim to none. Afaik, it's even impossible. You will still need to find a job, the company needs to apply for a work permit for you and jump through the same hoops as for any non-EU, and since it's been declined once, chances are it will be declined again. Especially if it's an application for the same job again (the authorities are not stupid and will realize they're trying to make use of a loophole)

Waiting for Medea to confirm.
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