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Old 28.12.2016, 07:38
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Seeking employment from the US?

Hi,


First, thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I am thankful that this forum exists for these types of exchanges!


I am seeking tips for a person seeking employment and currently employed/living in the US. Do employers automatically filter out CVs from people not currently living in Switzerland? What if the person does not require permits, or visas, are chances better? And would being older than 40 be a deal breaker?


Before you answer, here is more background information…



It is my wife who is seeking employment in Switzerland; she has a degree in accounting, and an Executive MBA with an emphasis on Finance. She does not speak German, but is willing to learn German, or French. She is 43. She is fluent in English and Spanish.


My wife is a Norwegian citizen, so she can live/work in Switzerland without the need for visas/permits. Interestingly, Norwegian is not her native tongue, she was born, and raised in Spain, so Spanish is her main language. She emigrated with her family to the US in 1985, and so is a permanent US Green card holder.


Thank you
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Old 28.12.2016, 07:41
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

Welcome and enjoy.
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Old 28.12.2016, 09:42
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

It will be difficult, very difficult and as she is already in US, one presumes legally, she must have a green card and thus subjected to US taxes.

Finance, Switzerland and USA don't really go together, we find it far too expensive for the benefits it may bring......
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Old 28.12.2016, 10:15
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

Welcome to the forum.

A few points to consider.

First, she'd probably need to get her qualifications recognised. This is the organisation to contact.

"You are an accountant or auditor and would like to obtain authorisation to work in Switzerland?

Contact:

Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA)
Case postale 6023
CH-3001 Bern
T +41 31 560 22 22"

Language - well this depends on who the employer turns out to be. There are many international companies who's office language will be English, but smaller companies are going to want someone who speaks the local language.

Employment in general - as an EU citizen she has no problems in getting a permit if she has an employment contract. However, the Swiss are giving more priority to Swiss nationals

http://www.thelocal.ch/20161214/swis...eu-immigration

and also other people who already live and work here. This measure comes into force in February. So yes, employers are likely to "bin" CVs that don't already state that the applicant has a Swiss permit to live and work here.

So you have to decide whether to risk moving here for a few months in hopes she'll find work. She can be here for up to 3 months without registering as being a resident for job hunting purposes. After 3 months she can apply for an L permit for another 3 months residency, providing she has sufficient funds to support herself. If she finds a job then she takes the employment contract to the gemeinde/commune (city/town/village) admin centre where she's living to get her permit status changed. Once she does that she can start working.

Age could also be a problem, depending on how specialised she is. If she can fill a niche then she's more likely to find a job.

Finally the American problem. Since the US decided to go after it's expat population with it's FATCA law, banks have been more and more unwilling to take on American clients. Only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance are still taking them on and maybe the cantonal banks of Zurich and Basel. If they do agree to take her on, she'd need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send her account details on to the IRS because as a Green Card holder she still has ongoing US tax filing obligations no matter where she lives in the world; the US tax by citizenship/Green Card holder and not by residency as the rest of the world does.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

She would also need to file an FBAR form if the aggregate amount in the account/s comes to more than $10,000 at any time of the year. This could also affect her job prospects as Swiss employers will no longer employ Americans in any financial position where they are required to deal with the company's banking side as any account they have signatory authority for would also have to be reported on an FBAR.

The only way to avoid this is to give up her Green Card by filing form I-407 when she leaves the States.

The banking/tax situation will also apply to you if you're a US citizen or Green Card holder.
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Old 28.12.2016, 14:06
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

Please be aware these are my opinions based on my personal experience. I lived in Seattle before getting married and moving to Switzerland in May '16. Others may have different experiences.

In my opinion, learn the language before travel. She should be fluent enough to conduct job interviews, rent an apartment, purchase utility services and handle government paperwork, all in German. This is also a basic requirement if she wants any social contact. Most Swiss people can speak a bit of English, however most refuse unless they stand to make money from you. The Swiss social xenophobia is real.

Does her current employer have any branch offices, subsidiaries, business partners, etc inside Switzerland? An internal transfer / job offer is best. A pre-arranged interview is second best. Social networking is much more useful here than prospective website applications. Have a look at few of the websites advertising jobs here. Pay close attention to education and language requirements. Remember the education requirements are based on the Swiss system. An american university degree is worthless unless you have it on paper as equivalent to one of the Swiss credentials

As others have stated, get her education credentials translated and fully recognized as equivalent to the Swiss education standards. A non-EU degree is almost worthless here if she is job prospecting. The Swiss education system combined with employer prejudice basically ensures that non-EU job applicants are bottom of the barrel. If you aren't native, you just aren't first choice.

Also, realize banking is a particularly tight job market here. The American gov't slamming Swiss banks with billions in fines and the relative end of banking privacy has made a large percentage of the worlds money go to other countries with still intact secrecy. Singapore for example. This created a reduction in force in the banking industry. This leads to lots of qualified applicants, not so many jobs.

Lastly, she should land with at least $15,000 for 3 months of gambling... ehem... job searching. Understand that this may be a complete waste of time and money. She may return to the US with no job and a lot less money. Whatever she thinks she will spend in a worst case scenario... double it.

If she does find a job, be prepared for months of paperwork, all of which costs money. The government does love their fees. Each level of government (Federal, Kanton, and city) each get their own slice of the immigrant's cash.

Again, in my opinion, Switzerland is the land of money. If you are wealthy or have outside cash flow... welcome... please, spend your money here. If you are on a budget... welcome, spend your money here... and leave when you run dry.

Needless to say, if I weren't married to an extraordinary woman, I would have returned to the US by now with less money and greater appreciation of American cultural acceptance.
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Old 28.12.2016, 14:09
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

Wow, another very unhappy forum member.....
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Old 28.12.2016, 14:20
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

May I ask, why Switzerland?

If your wife is a Norwegian and as such holds (presumably) a norwegian passport, she already speaks that language as well as spanish and english, and you are both determined to move to Europe, would it not be simpler to consider job-hunting in one of the EU/schengen countries where those languages are spoken?
Switzerland might look like a monied paradise to an outsider, but it isn't for most people and it's getting harder and harder to move here; especially if you're from a third-world country.... and in this case the US counts as one.
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Old 28.12.2016, 15:04
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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May I ask, why Switzerland?

If your wife is a Norwegian and as such holds (presumably) a norwegian passport, she already speaks that language as well as spanish and english, and you are both determined to move to Europe, would it not be simpler to consider job-hunting in one of the EU/schengen countries where those languages are spoken?
Switzerland might look like a monied paradise to an outsider, but it isn't for most people and it's getting harder and harder to move here; especially if you're from a third-world country.... and in this case the US counts as one.
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Interestingly, Norwegian is not her native tongue, she was born, and raised in Spain, so Spanish is her main language.
Enough said. But I agree with the job hunting, it would certainly be easier in Spain than Switzerland language-wise.
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Old 28.12.2016, 15:32
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Again, in my opinion, Switzerland is the land of money. If you are wealthy or have outside cash flow... welcome... please, spend your money here. If you are on a budget... welcome, spend your money here... and leave when you run dry.
Yes, because millions of ordinary families clearly find it impossible to live in the country, scratching out the barest of existences.

Or not.
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Old 28.12.2016, 16:08
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Yes, because millions of ordinary families clearly find it impossible to live in the country, scratching out the barest of existences.

Or not.
My comments were intended for the OP. I don't speak for millions of families. Do you seriously suggest that many Americans would find an income on par with what they were making in the US? Not likely. Especially considering the OP discusses a woman's potential. Much like the US, there is a gender based income gap here too. Let's hope the OP's wife can find a job that can't be placed with a 20 yr old white male immigrant from an EU country who will work for 2/3 the expected income...

I don't care about numbers, I care about quality of living standard. I'm guessing most American immigrants with no family ties to Switzerland end up with a living standard a few degrees less than what was available in the states. Unless you can find a niche job where you get paid as much as a native Swiss... but for those who look at numbers, I made north of $70k as a QA inspector in manufacturing near Seattle. High school diploma, no college degree. I can't even get an interview with McDonald's here. No Swiss education papers. Apparently my 20 years experience in highly technical American manufacturing leaves me not qualified to flip a Swiss burger? For those who suggest more education... after I learn German, maybe, if I can afford it. But then what, I'll be mid 40's with the same papers as a 20 yr old Swiss...

To mention the other dirty truth... If her racial background is anything other than white, she'll have an even more difficult time. I was told by a few locals that I have at least one thing going for me... I look European. Tall, blonde, white and male. Racial prejudice exists here the same as in America. For those that say Switzerland has very little racism... next time you're in Coop grocery store, pay close attention to the non-verbal reactions of the native Swiss when a Syrian, African, or any flavor of middle eastern family walks through the store.
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Old 28.12.2016, 16:30
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

Syngiun, with all due respect..Have you looked at who's working in McDonalds? Most of them are not white, tall and blond. Or males, if that counts for anything.
Is not your CV, I guess they don't even look at them. It's "networking" - usually other employees bring in other people etc etc. There are already established immigrant communities and they help each other. (I know that from other people)
So, if anything, you could face the "racism" of someone from Kosovo or Germany..lol If we are to talk about only this type of jobs.

The thing is, as a potential immigrant from a country which is not very well represented here you better try to find a niche job, and a highly skilled one at that. That includes a lot of people from EU countries too..
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Old 28.12.2016, 16:31
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May I ask, why Switzerland?

If your wife is a Norwegian and as such holds (presumably) a norwegian passport, she already speaks that language as well as spanish and english, and you are both determined to move to Europe, would it not be simpler to consider job-hunting in one of the EU/schengen countries where those languages are spoken?
Switzerland might look like a monied paradise to an outsider, but it isn't for most people and it's getting harder and harder to move here; especially if you're from a third-world country.... and in this case the US counts as one.
Thank you, Anjela.

My wife is Norwegian, but does not speak the language. I’m not sure what the laws are now, but when my wife was born, Spain went by ‘Jus sanguinis’. Since neither of her parents were Spanish, she had to take her father’s nationality, which is Norwegian. However, if she did live in Spain, she could claim her Spanish citizenship after one year.


Due to my wife’s nationality, we’ve been able to give our kids the privilege of dual citizenship. Our children have both American, and Norwegian citizenship (and passports). We feel the kids have much more opportunities this way.


Our goal is to end up in Spain, however, we need the health benefits, so my wife will need to work. My benefits do not apply in Europe, unless there is an life threatening emergency.



The employment situation in Spain is not great. Also, she is not ready to retire, and still wants to work. I will be retiring very soon, so I am not concerned with employment.



We are not considering any country, however, for the purpose of amassing wealth, we've already done that here in the US, this is more of a transition to retiring in Europe. Our circumstances are different from most obviously, but obtaining employment is the same, regardless of the reason.


We are looking in Switzerland because I have relatives in Bern, and we have been visiting every other year since 1998 and are familiar with the country. My wife is considering other places too, like Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. My wife also has family in Spain, but as I mentioned earlier, the jobs market there is severely deflated.

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Welcome to the forum.
Medea’, that was a wealth of information, thanks. We knew about the banking regulations and the laws enacted that ‘punish’ US citizens, and Green Card holders. However, we do not expect to be earning so much income that it would affect us too much. We have a CPA prepare our taxes for us, and we’d continue to use them even if we did live in Europe. As a Green Card holder, my wife would need to return to the US every six months, so she'd visit our CPA at the end of the year.



I will not be seeking employment; in fact, I plan on retiring next year, so only my wife would be working.


As you may know, the US does not guarantee free medical. We have a great medical plan offered to us by my employer. At my company, if one has the amount of years of service in, and is of a certain age, then when one retires, he/she can continue to receive those benefits for life at the current price that the employee pays. I pay only $150US per month for the family, so that is why I need to work until July of next year, else I could retire now. I have 37 years of service with the same company, and counting.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 28.12.2016 at 21:35. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 28.12.2016, 16:49
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Syngiun, with all due respect..Have you looked at who's working in McDonalds? Most of them are not white, tall and blond. Or males, if that counts for anything.
Is not your CV, I guess they don't even look at them. It's "networking" - usually other employees bring in other people etc etc. There are already established immigrant communities and they help each other. (I know that from other people)
So, if anything, you could face the "racism" of someone from Kosovo or Germany..lol If we are to talk about only this type of jobs.

The thing is, as a potential immigrant from a country which is not very well represented here you better try to find a niche job, and a highly skilled one at that. That includes a lot of people from EU countries too..
Even thought this is scope creep from the OP...

I don't personally deal with much "racism." I do see it quite often as shown by others.

I do face a lot of prejudice. Very different than racism. I'm not native, I don't have Swiss papers, I don't have money. This leaves me less than desirable to most employers.

I probably would have been less shocked and more prepared if I had read my kind of stark discussion of Swiss immigration here on EF before leaving the US. Unfortunately, most posts here and on other forums, leave a prospective auslander with an impression that while it might not be "easy" it is not exceedingly difficult to integrate. Maybe this semi-romanticized idea is for those who have the cash to burn while they search for work...
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Old 28.12.2016, 17:00
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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I probably would have been less shocked and more prepared if I had read my kind of stark discussion of Swiss immigration here on EF before leaving the US. Unfortunately, most posts here and on other forums, leave a prospective auslander with an impression that while it might not be "easy" it is not exceedingly difficult to integrate. Maybe this semi-romanticized idea is for those who have the cash to burn while they search for work...
Ok, I get your point. I, for one, was very categorical when couple of people (aquintances) asked me whether they could find a job in CH. No, knowing what they studied, their work experience etc and knowing they might use all their money to follow a dream...I didn't "romanticise" a bit. Last person who asked me this was a cousin...I'd hate to see her leave a relatively good situation in a white collar job to go and start from 0 somewhere else while maybe facing discrimination or other nasty stuff in the process.
That's why I say EF is irrelevant from so many points of view....

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Old 28.12.2016, 17:13
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Please be aware these are my opinions based on my personal experience. I lived in Seattle before getting married and moving to Switzerland in May '16. Others may have different experiences.

In my opinion, learn the language before travel. She should be fluent enough to conduct job interviews, rent an apartment, purchase utility services and handle government paperwork, all in German. This is also a basic requirement if she wants any social contact. Most Swiss people can speak a bit of English, however most refuse unless they stand to make money from you. The Swiss social xenophobia is real.

Does her current employer have any branch offices, subsidiaries, business partners, etc inside Switzerland? An internal transfer / job offer is best. A pre-arranged interview is second best. Social networking is much more useful here than prospective website applications. Have a look at few of the websites advertising jobs here. Pay close attention to education and language requirements. Remember the education requirements are based on the Swiss system. An american university degree is worthless unless you have it on paper as equivalent to one of the Swiss credentials

As others have stated, get her education credentials translated and fully recognized as equivalent to the Swiss education standards. A non-EU degree is almost worthless here if she is job prospecting. The Swiss education system combined with employer prejudice basically ensures that non-EU job applicants are bottom of the barrel. If you aren't native, you just aren't first choice.

Also, realize banking is a particularly tight job market here. The American gov't slamming Swiss banks with billions in fines and the relative end of banking privacy has made a large percentage of the worlds money go to other countries with still intact secrecy. Singapore for example. This created a reduction in force in the banking industry. This leads to lots of qualified applicants, not so many jobs.

Lastly, she should land with at least $15,000 for 3 months of gambling... ehem... job searching. Understand that this may be a complete waste of time and money. She may return to the US with no job and a lot less money. Whatever she thinks she will spend in a worst case scenario... double it.

If she does find a job, be prepared for months of paperwork, all of which costs money. The government does love their fees. Each level of government (Federal, Kanton, and city) each get their own slice of the immigrant's cash.

Again, in my opinion, Switzerland is the land of money. If you are wealthy or have outside cash flow... welcome... please, spend your money here. If you are on a budget... welcome, spend your money here... and leave when you run dry.

Needless to say, if I weren't married to an extraordinary woman, I would have returned to the US by now with less money and greater appreciation of American cultural acceptance.
Thank you, Syngiun. My wife did take German courses in the past, that was about 15 years ago, but honestly, she may as well say she never took any, she’s lost it all. And as for living expenses, our situation is different than say a young 20 something year old just starting out. I'll just say it would not be as dire for us, and the crux for us is the health benefits.
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Old 28.12.2016, 17:24
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Medea’, that was a wealth of information, thanks. We knew about the banking regulations and the laws enacted that ‘punish’ US citizens, and Green Card holders. However, we do not expect to be earning so much income that it would affect us too much. We have a CPA prepare our taxes for us, and we’d continue to use them even if we did live in Europe. As a Green Card holder, my wife would need to return to the US every six months, so she'd visit our CPA at the end of the year.



I will not be seeking employment; in fact, I plan on retiring next year, so only my wife would be working.


As you may know, the US does not guarantee free medical. We have a great medical plan offered to us by my employer. At my company, if one has the amount of years of service in, and is of a certain age, then when one retires, he/she can continue to receive those benefits for life at the current price that the employee pays. I pay only $150US per month for the family, so that is why I need to work until July of next year, else I could retire now. I have 37 years of service with the same company, and counting.
Unfortunately I doubt the medical plan will be accepted here. You're likely to need to purchase the mandatory Swiss health insurance for both of you which will be more than $150 a month. You would need to check with the cantonal health insurance office where you decide to live to find out for sure.

https://www.ch.ch/en/health-insurance-foreigners/

Also simply returning to the US every 6 months will not necessarily mean she keeps her Green Card.

https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/aft...nent-residence

Her trips will be noticed and how will she explain being out of the US for most of the year?
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Old 28.12.2016, 18:06
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Unfortunately I doubt the medical plan will be accepted here. You're likely to need to purchase the mandatory Swiss health insurance for both of you which will be more than $150 a month. You would need to check with the cantonal health insurance office where you decide to live to find out for sure.

https://www.ch.ch/en/health-insurance-foreigners/

Also simply returning to the US every 6 months will not necessarily mean she keeps her Green Card.

https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/aft...nent-residence

Her trips will be noticed and how will she explain being out of the US for most of the year?
Yes, we know for certain that the medical benefits we have will not suffice, or be honored in Europe, unless it is an emergency, in which case it would be treated as an 'out of network' case.

Re residence; until I turn 59.5, our residence will be 'temporary' in Europe. But aside from that, we've consulted with our CPA and Financial planner who have done work for others in similar situations. Without getting into too much details, my wife has satisfied certain conditions simply by being raised here (work, savings, investments, etc.). She would not be out of the country more than six months each time. In about six years from now, she is willing to give up the Green Card.
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Old 28.12.2016, 18:13
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

I doubt even then it would be honoured as you'd be residents of Switzerland. In any case your Swiss health insurance will cover emergencies and anything else.
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Old 28.12.2016, 18:22
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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Do employers automatically filter out CVs from people not currently living in Switzerland?
No, but they filter out CVs that are "non-EU". Your wife should be fine... make sure it's clear that she is Norwegian in the CV. At the top, not the small print. "Nationality = Norwegian" is completely acceptable in Switzerland, we don't have the same anti-discrimination laws the US knows.
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What if the person does not require permits, or visas, are chances better?
Hell, yeah! Write it on top of your CV. In bold and read.
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And would being older than 40 be a deal breaker?
Depends on the job, but generally: No. The magic number seems to be 50...
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Old 28.12.2016, 23:33
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Re: Seeking employment from the US?

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...Without getting into too much details, my wife has satisfied certain conditions simply by being raised here (work, savings, investments, etc.). She would not be out of the country more than six months each time. In about six years from now, she is willing to give up the Green Card.
Without getting into too many details, if you search, you will find stories of people who thought that a visit for a few weeks every 6 months would be enough, and found out differently. It is unambiguously against the intent of the Green Card rules, and I'd be suspicious of anybody who claims otherwise. Especially if they are selling something.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure plenty of people successfully avoid getting caught by blind luck and/or by being prepared with misleading documents, (e.g. a mortgage on a house you've no intention to return to) but there are no guarantees. So don't fall into the trap of thinking there is no risk, and consider being as circumspect about it as you would be for any other not-100%-legal endeavour.

Regarding medical, in case it isn't clear, if you are permanent resident of Switzerland you'll be required to have Swiss health insurance. It doesn't sound like you qualify for any of the exceptions that I've heard of. The basic insurance is reasonable in what it covers, but will cost more than 150 per month per person.
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