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Old 17.01.2012, 09:25
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Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Hello everybody,

My name is Jami, initially from south florida but am currently living in San Diego, CA. I work in IT here building and configuring computer servers for data centers and co-location.

My girlfriend is living in Germany on the Swiss border and is going to school in Zurich, we met here in California where she was living for two years but she is initially from Switzerland. She had an obligation to go back there to finish her studies and I am looking to relocate there while she finished her studies, get to know the culture and the people, and possibly pick up a part or full time job if possible.

My question is, are any of you working in IT positions? If so, was it easy to get in to a position without knowing high german or swiss german?

Any help/advice is gretly appreciated, thanks in advance!

-Jami
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Old 17.01.2012, 09:51
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"Working" is such a strong word. Especially when talking about IT.
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Old 17.01.2012, 09:57
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Some things to note:

1. English is the language at (most large) businesses, especially IT, so its not necessarily important specifically for your career to know German, but if you are planning on staying for some time, you need to know the language to be able to carry on day-to-day interactions.

2. Foreign Alien residency and work permits are given out in three tiers of priorty- Schengen, EU, and everybody else. Since you are American, that means you're 'everybody else' and you and your potential employer must be able to prove that you have unique job skills and/or there is no Swiss citizen, or citizen from any of the other two categories' member countries that can relocate and perform your job.

3. These work/residency permits are based upon an annualized quota, so its better to be aggressively seeking early in the year (like January).

4. Save up as much money as possible in the interim. I'm sure you've been told that it is expensive to live in Switzerland, but it will be more expensive than you think you realize, and there will be a lot of up-front costs (rent deposit, etc) that you'll have to pay prior to receiving any relocation or disturbance allowance from your employer. Many of these costs are much higher than what is normal in the US: for example, our rent deposit for our apartment was 3 month's rent, not the usual 1 month's rent that many US apartments ask.
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Old 17.01.2012, 10:11
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

About 50% of them, the other 50% are on here !
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Old 17.01.2012, 13:20
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Wow, leaving an IT job in California to come to Switzerland sounds really unusual! ah, the power of love!

if my bf read this he might want to swap his job with yours straight away!

IT industry in Switzerland is not that great, plus even big multinationals requires the local language most of the times.

As a non EU citizen it might be difficult to get a residence/work permit (a friend of mine has seen her permit rejected by the cantonal office for population.

I think that maybe coming here as a student might be a solution...in that way, if I am not mistake, you can get a B permit and work part time.
You might try to have a look at universities and see if there is anything interesting.

Or what about working remotely with your current company?

Good luck!
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Old 17.01.2012, 13:27
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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Wow, leaving an IT job in California to come to Switzerland sounds really unusual! ah, the power of love!
If you're serious about your girlfriend, another option is to wait until you are ready to marry her (do this for the right reasons), and then you can get a visa and residence permit under the 'family reunification' clause.
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Old 17.01.2012, 15:40
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Hi Jami, I'm another IT from from "everybody else" country. Can share with you part of my story. Just got L-type permit.

So very basic German and non-native English. More than 6 months since I initially sent my CV to a small company I'm joining now. I don't know how deep and unique are your skills but mine were so enough.

Are you ready to wait for so long time? Are you ready to come here several times for an interview? Are you sure your potential employer will spend so many effort on you? Are you really strong, unique and lucky one?

You can also consider to move to Germany as your gf is living there, this seems to be much more easy: http://www.arbeit-und-arbeitsrecht.d...ard/2011/12/20

Anyway, good luck!
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Old 18.01.2012, 03:36
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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"Working" is such a strong word. Especially when talking about IT.
Haha, yes indeed!
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Old 18.01.2012, 03:38
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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If you're serious about your girlfriend, another option is to wait until you are ready to marry her (do this for the right reasons), and then you can get a visa and residence permit under the 'family reunification' clause.
Yes, we are serious.. She will be spending the summer here with me if I dont get something lined up in there or in Germany.

With a visa and residency permit I would imagine it is alot easier to get a job there, or is this not the case? Thank you for the information!
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Old 18.01.2012, 06:35
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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With a visa and residency permit I would imagine it is alot easier to get a job there, or is this not the case? Thank you for the information!
Yes it is. But unless you get married will you not get a residence permit without a job... it works the other way around: You find an employer that wants to hire you. He wants to hire you so much that he is willing to go through the time wasting process to get you a work and residence permit. As described above will he only get it if he can show proof that you are offering some unique skills than that he did in fact try to get the same skills in the Swiss and EU job markets (for example through ads). I have a friend who runs an IT consultancy and did this for a Chinese employee. I have seen that it is a lot of work and you need measurable facts that the immigration guys can understand - in that particular case was it the formal education with high end computer science degrees. If you don't have something to offer in that sense, it will get exponentially more difficult: One of the factors seems to be salary. I do not know the exact numbers but it was somewhere around 7000 CHF a month: if you earn less, the immigration control simply does not believe that you are so an unique specialist... so to get a work permit and therefore a resident permit without marriage usually requires a high education and a job offer. Sorry if this makes it more difficult for you, but this policy makes very much sense to me... I would like my country to be as logical as Switzerland in that area.
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Old 18.01.2012, 08:38
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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Yes, we are serious.. She will be spending the summer here with me if I dont get something lined up in there or in Germany.

With a visa and residency permit I would imagine it is alot easier to get a job there, or is this not the case?
No, its the other way around. Reread Treverus's post, as it is a good explanation of how the process works.

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Yes it is. But unless you get married will you not get a residence permit without a job... it works the other way around: You find an employer that wants to hire you. He wants to hire you so much that he is willing to go through the time wasting process to get you a work and residence permit. As described above will he only get it if he can show proof that you are offering some unique skills than that he did in fact try to get the same skills in the Swiss and EU job markets (for example through ads). I have a friend who runs an IT consultancy and did this for a Chinese employee. I have seen that it is a lot of work and you need measurable facts that the immigration guys can understand - in that particular case was it the formal education with high end computer science degrees. If you don't have something to offer in that sense, it will get exponentially more difficult: One of the factors seems to be salary. I do not know the exact numbers but it was somewhere around 7000 CHF a month: if you earn less, the immigration control simply does not believe that you are so an unique specialist... so to get a work permit and therefore a resident permit without marriage usually requires a high education and a job offer. Sorry if this makes it more difficult for you, but this policy makes very much sense to me... I would like my country to be as logical as Switzerland in that area.
There are real hurdles to clear to live and work in Switzerland. I have been over here with my wife for 5 months now, and I haven't yet been able to find a job because I have had a tough time proving my skills (as an American) are unique enough that potential employers cannot find a Swiss or EU citizen that can already do the job.
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Old 18.01.2012, 11:43
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Hi!

So, I'm also in IT ( Have a master in computer network engineering) , speak natively Portuguese and English ( born abroad xD ). My girl got a job here in Swiss, in the zurich canton, and we decided to moved together.

I've been for 2 months searching for a job, and haven't found nothing mostly because I don't speak german. but not only, a part is due to my previous carrear IT auditor / Security consultant, its a small market. But now I'm looking for a different carrear step. (IT & Web & Security freelancing I was in a web startup before consultancy)

About the permit, We arrived where in the beginning of the year, so i'm dealing with my Visa ( she has a job, no problem with her ) but on my side, they want to be sure that I can maintain my self ( even doe her salary can support us both, but we are not married )

In your case, I think it should be easier, since its more server related. Look at big and international companies, like verizon (in Zurich). Register in monster.com and fill in every little detail and specify switzerland as your destination.

Good luck!
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Old 18.01.2012, 12:09
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

You could register your profile with IT consultants like Elan IT, ask them to evaluate your chances. I received one or two interview calls through Elan. Do some research about jobs in your field and then make this move.
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Old 18.01.2012, 12:24
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Speaking from experience, it is more difficult to get a job and residency permit as an American because there are special hiring rules that favor EU citizens. It is not impossible but you have to have specialized skills and the company will need to "prove" that they were unable to hire anyone from the EU with similar skills. Just be prepared for a long hiring process.

I decided to instead apply to ETH and get a student visa. You might be able to work part-time for the university on a student visa but I am not sure about that.
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Old 18.01.2012, 12:56
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

Hello there fellow californian,

2 years ago i got hired in in zürich to do IT project delivery for one of the big banks. I moved out here from los angeles. I speak fluent german and have lived and worked in Europe before and know the german speaking world pretty well. The advice on this forum is good, especially the words of caution re: money. Its shockingly expensive here. I moved a 2bd room apt here and it was 15000 CHF (no car) for the move alone, then the deposit on the new apt. was 6000 CHF (for a 1bd room).

If you 1) don’t speak german and 2) aren’t married to someone who can live and work here, I would think your chances would be relatively slim to find something quickly. One or the other you can get around but both will be hard.

You can come to CH for blocks of time up to 90 days without needing any sort of permits or proof of insurance or anything, I would do that once and explore the landscape and sniff out your chances. Come in march or something when its getting a bit lighter and not so cold and stomp the pavement for a while and see if you think you can get a job. While IT jobs are around in Zurich and Basel, you’ve got those 2 points above working against you. Then again your credentials are solid so perhaps im incorrect. The hiring process for me lasted from August to December, with a move end of January, to give you an idea how long it took, with a few trips to the swiss embassy in west los angeles to submit paperwork and stuff.

If your 90 dayish trial run doesnt result in a job, well you’ve had a good 3 mos to explore and decide if you like the place, you and your sweetie get a nice “hard phase” to stress test your relationship, and then you can decide if you want to get married and come over that way.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but ive seen a LOT of people who come over for love, liquidate their 401ks and savings to make the jump, only to have the stress of the whole thing kill the relationship and they go back home with their tail between their legs a year or so later and have lost A LOT of money.

However, on the other hand the way to make an awful lot of the pain for getting a job go away and getting a decent permit: get married. Then your restrictions on working and living there are lifted more or less over night and the logistics of the authorities are super ok. And, one of the major barriers to employment is solved. Then youve only got the "foreigner who doesnt speak german" thing against you, and this, at least here in zurich, is not thaaaaat much of an issue. Certainly an easier obstacle to overcome IMHO than the permit one.

Consider: it took 5mos of back and forth to get my B permit (was lucky in that regard, and didn’t get the L; you cant even get a mobile phone contract or an apt in a lot of places with an L), the authorities even went so far as to grill my future employer why they wanted me and they had to write extra letters cheerleading for me before it was approved. Total hassle, took months! My wife? She got her B permit with work authorization no questions asked because she was a “following spouse”, and it was a non issue. She got a job with no german at the university of zurich as an editorial assistant quickly after she took some classes and gradually got her legs.

I suppose its all how you want to manage the risks of everything: if you risk greatly on the personal life front and get married quick, your logistics will be easier. If you are more cautious in this regard, your logistics will be very challenging, perhaps insurmountable.

And before you do anything further go to amazon and buy “a xenophobes guide to the swiss” and chuckle.

Good luck!!
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Old 19.01.2012, 06:14
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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Hello there fellow californian,

2 years ago i got hired in in zürich to do IT project delivery for one of the big banks. I moved out here from los angeles. I speak fluent german and have lived and worked in Europe before and know the german speaking world pretty well. The advice on this forum is good, especially the words of caution re: money. Its shockingly expensive here. I moved a 2bd room apt here and it was 15000 CHF (no car) for the move alone, then the deposit on the new apt. was 6000 CHF (for a 1bd room).

If you 1) don’t speak german and 2) aren’t married to someone who can live and work here, I would think your chances would be relatively slim to find something quickly. One or the other you can get around but both will be hard.

You can come to CH for blocks of time up to 90 days without needing any sort of permits or proof of insurance or anything, I would do that once and explore the landscape and sniff out your chances. Come in march or something when its getting a bit lighter and not so cold and stomp the pavement for a while and see if you think you can get a job. While IT jobs are around in Zurich and Basel, you’ve got those 2 points above working against you. Then again your credentials are solid so perhaps im incorrect. The hiring process for me lasted from August to December, with a move end of January, to give you an idea how long it took, with a few trips to the swiss embassy in west los angeles to submit paperwork and stuff.

If your 90 dayish trial run doesnt result in a job, well you’ve had a good 3 mos to explore and decide if you like the place, you and your sweetie get a nice “hard phase” to stress test your relationship, and then you can decide if you want to get married and come over that way.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but ive seen a LOT of people who come over for love, liquidate their 401ks and savings to make the jump, only to have the stress of the whole thing kill the relationship and they go back home with their tail between their legs a year or so later and have lost A LOT of money.

However, on the other hand the way to make an awful lot of the pain for getting a job go away and getting a decent permit: get married. Then your restrictions on working and living there are lifted more or less over night and the logistics of the authorities are super ok. And, one of the major barriers to employment is solved. Then youve only got the "foreigner who doesnt speak german" thing against you, and this, at least here in zurich, is not thaaaaat much of an issue. Certainly an easier obstacle to overcome IMHO than the permit one.

Consider: it took 5mos of back and forth to get my B permit (was lucky in that regard, and didn’t get the L; you cant even get a mobile phone contract or an apt in a lot of places with an L), the authorities even went so far as to grill my future employer why they wanted me and they had to write extra letters cheerleading for me before it was approved. Total hassle, took months! My wife? She got her B permit with work authorization no questions asked because she was a “following spouse”, and it was a non issue. She got a job with no german at the university of zurich as an editorial assistant quickly after she took some classes and gradually got her legs.

I suppose its all how you want to manage the risks of everything: if you risk greatly on the personal life front and get married quick, your logistics will be easier. If you are more cautious in this regard, your logistics will be very challenging, perhaps insurmountable.

And before you do anything further go to amazon and buy “a xenophobes guide to the swiss” and chuckle.

Good luck!!
Wow, thanks for all that info! I could imagine there are a huge amount of people moving solely for love, and end in the gutter due to the stress. As of right now we both have an understanding that it will be very hard for me to get employment there, its very much a long shot. Lucky for us we are both pretty optimistic and are realists more than dreamers!

I have had two different companies in the past, one which I gave up on as gas money was getting to be a hassle, and the second my business partner bought me out of. I am only saying this to bring up that I am very much a self starter. Moving to Zurich would be a huge challenge even with as confident as I am in my abilities to make things happen from scratch.

That said, are there alot of foreigners working under the table there? I know that here in the states we have alot of women coming in from Spain and France, to learn english. Alot of them end up picking up jobs as a nanny or a maid, throwing adds on CL and making really decent money... I wonder if there is a possibility to do freelance work for the six months if I decide to come out to check things out for that long.

Thanks again for the advice, ill be flying out there this coming Friday, Ill let you guys know how it ends up!
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Old 19.01.2012, 06:35
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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That said, are there alot of foreigners working under the table there? I know that here in the states we have alot of women coming in from Spain and France, to learn english. Alot of them end up picking up jobs as a nanny or a maid, throwing adds on CL and making really decent money... I wonder if there is a possibility to do freelance work for the six months if I decide to come out to check things out for that long.

Thanks again for the advice, ill be flying out there this coming Friday, Ill let you guys know how it ends up!
Simple: Of course are there illegal jobs in Switzerland, just like everywhere else. Of course will cash only look very decent up front (but not so much if you happen to get ill, have an accident, or simply want a pension once you are old...). But seriously: What happens with one of the illegal workers in the US if they get caught? Same here. In short: a stupid idea if you plan to live here long time - the chance of getting caught might be small but the consequences in your case pretty severe... if I was a language student, I could simply get caught and make my next course in the UK instead... unless you have the same backup plan for your girlfriends, better don't try it.
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Old 25.01.2012, 19:48
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

You're going to need a work permit, which for Us means you'll need to find a job before coming here - to live that is, there isn't much to stop you coming here and using your holiday time to look for work, but the employer would need to know little details, like you not having a work permit yet, up front.

Getting married first is one option, but going to such lengths in order to secure a job, is over-doing it IMHO. Is any job worth that?


Normally, permit issues aside, you would be able to find IT work in Switzerland. In spite of what has been said above, I have been doing IT contracts here for a decade with only English. Many of the firms that only do business in Switzerland have made english their internal business-language, and this is particularly the case with IT, where the overwhelming majority of documentation is only available in English.

At the moment though, good luck. Working in IT just got made illegal in Switzerland and all businesses using IT systems in Switzerland have to have them provided, designed, built, tested, supported, and in due course replaced, by off-shore providers. At least that's how it seems.

How does $10 per hour grab you? In a country where last year it's largest city had 57 vacant apartments and the price of new apartments just went up 90% year on year. Sound familiar? Scenery-wise, the Zurich Lake region is reminiscent of the Bay Area, with many of the same attitudes, if on a somewhat smaller and less in-your-face style. There's much here you would be familiar with, even including the inevitable crash that the Swiss bought upon themselves with their bank bailouts.
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Old 25.01.2012, 20:13
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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You're going to need a work permit, which for Us means you'll need to find a job before coming here - to live that is, there isn't much to stop you coming here and using your holiday time to look for work, but the employer would need to know little details, like you not having a work permit yet, up front.

Getting married first is one option, but going to such lengths in order to secure a job, is over-doing it IMHO. Is any job worth that?


Normally, permit issues aside, you would be able to find IT work in Switzerland. In spite of what has been said above, I have been doing IT contracts here for a decade with only English. Many of the firms that only do business in Switzerland have made english their internal business-language, and this is particularly the case with IT, where the overwhelming majority of documentation is only available in English.

At the moment though, good luck. Working in IT just got made illegal in Switzerland and all businesses using IT systems in Switzerland have to have them provided, designed, built, tested, supported, and in due course replaced, by off-shore providers. At least that's how it seems.

How does $10 per hour grab you? In a country where last year it's largest city had 57 vacant apartments and the price of new apartments just went up 90% year on year. Sound familiar? Scenery-wise, the Zurich Lake region is reminiscent of the Bay Area, with many of the same attitudes, if on a somewhat smaller and less in-your-face style. There's much here you would be familiar with, even including the inevitable crash that the Swiss bought upon themselves with their bank bailouts.
Agree with Alt-F4, you can try getting a job there before you go, at least im doing that... Try to search on LinkedIn or in another European Jobs pages... =)
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Old 26.01.2012, 10:33
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Re: Hello From California! Anyone working in IT?

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Agree with Alt-F4, you can try getting a job there before you go, at least im doing that... Try to search on LinkedIn or in another European Jobs pages... =)
Ive realized now that im here in Switzerland and Germany that swiss is out of the option, IT (as it says above), is NOT hwat it use to be here and you can more money as a taxi driver or a waitress. After traveling around for a day or two I have come to the conclusion that it would be a far better idea to get a job somewhere in frankfurt or berlin to accomplish my objective of getting closer to my girlfriend for the next few years... Such a shame that they are outsourcing but I think that in due time that will flip around when they realize how fast and difficult problems can arrise with cloud systems and no on-sight customer support, hardware failures are always time consuming.
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