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Old 14.07.2012, 01:47
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Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

Hi there. New to the forum. I am interested in moving to Switzerland for employment as well as for graduate school. Currently I have my bachelors degree from a top business school in NYC and work in the IT field. I speak fluent Italian and was interested in possibly going to Lugano, Locarno or one of the major Italian speaking sections. I am unsure about what the first steps are in the process. Am I able to directly contact employers through employment sites and respond to job listings or do I have to receive some sort of visa prior to that? I am used to a very high cost of living as I currently live in New York City. Having the experience of paying rent and car insurance here, I can't be to surprised by the prices elsewhere.
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Old 14.07.2012, 02:23
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

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Hi there. New to the forum. I am interested in moving to Switzerland for employment as well as for graduate school. Currently I have my bachelors degree from a top business school in NYC and work in the IT field. I speak fluent Italian and was interested in possibly going to Lugano, Locarno or one of the major Italian speaking sections. I am unsure about what the first steps are in the process. Am I able to directly contact employers through employment sites and respond to job listings or do I have to receive some sort of visa prior to that? I am used to a very high cost of living as I currently live in New York City. Having the experience of paying rent and car insurance here, I can't be to surprised by the prices elsewhere.
Hi, and welcome to the forum.

It's challenging for an American to get a job in Switzerland. You must have a visa/residency permit to remain in Switzerland for more than 90 days, and the job market laws are written to prefer EU citizens over non-EU citizens. In general, you must have some very specific and specialized job skills and/or background in order for an employer to prove that a non-EU citizen is the only one fit to fill a job in Switzerland.

Your best angle to get long-term residency in Switzerland may be the graduate school. Have you looked into universities here yet?

Regarding being surprised about costs... While rent and car ownership may be similar to NY, you will probably be surprised about all other living costs - especially food. Have you visited Switzerland before?
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Old 14.07.2012, 08:57
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

Most IT jobs are in the German/French speaking Switzerland. There are English speaking offices though, so you might get something there.

However, there's lots of competition, and why should an employer want to get a visa for you, when he can get an EU IT professional without the hassle?
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Old 15.07.2012, 20:10
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

Well I'm curious as to what visas are available. If I can get a temporary visa and apply for a work visa later. Not sure how it works. But worst case, would I be able to live in Italy, Germany, or France and travel to Switzerland for work in the event that I could not get the authorization to live there?

And cost of living wise, I've seen that food and clothing is very expensive there as well. But to compensate, you earn a high wage and I am single. Actually looking at it, most likely I would come out ahead by working there despite the higher costs. What are the taxes like? NYC is the most corrupt, rip off in any western country. A city tax? They wonder why they are losing their tax base. I'm tired of paying for people who abuse the system and lower my standard of living.
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Old 15.07.2012, 23:59
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

Hi,

The terminology can be a little bit confusing, but what you're asking is kind of the wrong question.

There is much information on this forum about what you asking, just do some searching. Could find your answers on your own.

To point you in the right direction: Non-EU Permits - a few bullet points.

Now, to hit some high points to get you on the right track. You are "non-EU", so if you find any information for "Swiss citizens" or "EU citizens", ignore 100% of it - else you will get confused. Look only for information on non-EU.

As non-EU, you can visit Switzerland for up to 90 days without any visa. Just need your passport stamped when you enter anywhere into most European countries (e.g.: the Schengen). You'll have to leave Switzerland (rather, the Schengen) within 90 days. Read more here.

Also, the Swiss government has a lot of this information posted.

Next, regarding your question... You have to get Swiss government authorization to WORK in Switzerland. Switzerland issues a Swiss visa for working (that's the only one, I'm aware of - unless there's something special for full-time students studying in Switzerland). While, Swiss residency is a follow-on benefit to receiving a work visa. The Swiss government has clear requirements for submitting a visa application, and the killer for you (any of us non-EU types) is that a signed "Contract of employment" must be included in the application. Which means, you must have already received a job offer from a Swiss company, accepted the offer, signed the offer, and then (either you or the employer) submits the visa appellation with the Contract of Employment document included in the application packet. Switzerland will deny your visa application without that job contract. Even then, with a complete visa application, the government can reject the visa application - hence, you have to have a Swiss employer who is capable of explaining to the government why a non-EU (you) is the only one for the job.

Now, assuming you get that job offer, accept it, submit the visa application, and are then approved, you will get a visa put inside your passport. Then, when you arrive in Switzerland to start your job, you register at a local government office to receive your residency permit.

So... Living in another country (France, Germany, Italy) will do you no good for two reasons:

1) Schengen tourist visit of 90 days applies in those countries as well. The only thing to allow you to stay more than 90 days is to have a work visa attached to your passport, which can only come after a Swiss company offers you a job. Oh, and the "beyond 90 days" is actually contingent upon actually receiving a Residency Permit, because the visa actually has a time limit specified on it which means you'll have to leave the Schengen by a certain date (mine was only 90 days).

2) To get a job in Switzerland, you will need to find an employer in Switzerland who will hire you, and who can justify to the Swiss government why a non-EU citizen is the only candidate (versus Swiss or EU) available to do the job, and then hope that the Swiss government approves them to hire you!

It really is an up-hill battle, but it's not impossible. Many non-EU folks do it. I am one.

Clear as mud?

Cliff Notes:
1) Apply for jobs (during this time is when you will likely fly over for face to face interviews, and then return to the US and hope they offer you a job)
2) Receive job offer, accept job, sign offer letter, agree to start date (while still living the US)
3) Apply for Swiss visa (while still living the US)
4) wait.. wait.. wait.. with any luck, receive approval (while still living the US)
5) Send your Passport to the nearest Swiss Consulate in USA to have your visa affixed inside it, and then get it back. (while still living the US)
6) Relocate to Switzerland! (finally!)
7) Register in local canton office (showing your Passport with visa attached, and a mess of other paperwork generated by the visa approval process).
8) Wait for residency permit ID card to arrive by mail to your Swiss address.
9) Enjoy living and working in Switzerland!
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Old 16.07.2012, 00:04
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but from what I have seen Swiss banks are currently intent on outsourcing all the IT jobs they possibly can. I have been told that the UBS grand plan is to outsource much of its IT to India and Singapore. Both Swiss and expat IT professionals are losing their jobs here.

While I would not wish the hardship and inconvenience on people that the UK RBS/Nat West banking fiasco caused - it did at least highlight that big organisations need to continue to invest and upgrade their IT systems and that maximum outsourcing is not always the answer. Reliable, flexible and secure IT cannot be done on the cheap.

I wish you luck with your search.
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Old 16.07.2012, 18:06
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

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Hi there. New to the forum. I am interested in moving to Switzerland for employment as well as for graduate school. Currently I have my bachelors degree from a top business school in NYC and work in the IT field. I speak fluent Italian and was interested in possibly going to Lugano, Locarno or one of the major Italian speaking sections. I am unsure about what the first steps are in the process. Am I able to directly contact employers through employment sites and respond to job listings or do I have to receive some sort of visa prior to that? I am used to a very high cost of living as I currently live in New York City. Having the experience of paying rent and car insurance here, I can't be to surprised by the prices elsewhere.
If as you say on your profile, you are an Italian citizen, then permits will not be an issue, as under EU/Swiss agreements you are entitled to work here. However I have no idea how easy it will be to find employment in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland.
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Old 16.07.2012, 18:23
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

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Well I'm curious as to what visas are available. If I can get a temporary visa and apply for a work visa later. Not sure how it works. But worst case, would I be able to live in Italy, Germany, or France and travel to Switzerland for work in the event that I could not get the authorization to live there?

And cost of living wise, I've seen that food and clothing is very expensive there as well. But to compensate, you earn a high wage and I am single. Actually looking at it, most likely I would come out ahead by working there despite the higher costs. What are the taxes like? NYC is the most corrupt, rip off in any western country. A city tax? They wonder why they are losing their tax base. I'm tired of paying for people who abuse the system and lower my standard of living.
Do you have a passport from an EU country?

Perhaps you are eligible for a passport from an EU country? Many people are eligible
through either a parent or grandparent.

That would make your job finding much, much easier.
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Old 19.07.2012, 19:07
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Re: Young IT Professional looking to move from the United States

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news but from what I have seen Swiss banks are currently intent on outsourcing all the IT jobs they possibly can. I have been told that the UBS grand plan is to outsource much of its IT to India and Singapore. Both Swiss and expat IT professionals are losing their jobs here.

While I would not wish the hardship and inconvenience on people that the UK RBS/Nat West banking fiasco caused - it did at least highlight that big organisations need to continue to invest and upgrade their IT systems and that maximum outsourcing is not always the answer. Reliable, flexible and secure IT cannot be done on the cheap.

I wish you luck with your search.
Maybe they just envy CS for being in the lead with supplying the German government with those CDs full of client data. Time to show CS they can leak even more.
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