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Old 29.08.2021, 10:52
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Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

Hello together,

I had a discussion with my spouse about our longer term career plans/goals. I am a German speaking EU citizen starting a masters program in Switzerland. I already have highly relevant work experience in the financial service industry in Frankfurt.

My personal work goal would be to start FT at one of the Swiss banks in ZUR.

However, my spouse works in Germany since around 4 years but is initially from South Korea. She studied at a top tier UK University and works now in e commerce for a large tech company.

Looking up the requirements for her to work in Switzerland it seems close to impossible for non EU citizens to get a job here? I've also read a lot of horror stories on reddit.

Is there anyone here who faced a similar issue (one partner having good chances of getting a good job while the other facing difficulties) and give me their insights on how they managed to find a good solution? Are there any workarounds?

Thank you
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Old 29.08.2021, 11:13
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

From your other post it seems you are not married. Use the term "partner". Spouse is misleading.
If you are married and you find a well paid job your spouse will be given the same permit as you. She can then start to look for a job
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Old 29.08.2021, 11:25
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

Sorry. Indeed I mean "partner". I mistook the word. I thought spouse is more like a serious form of girlfriend without any connection to state of marriage (as wife would imply).
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Old 29.08.2021, 12:17
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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Sorry. Indeed I mean "partner". I mistook the word. I thought spouse is more like a serious form of girlfriend without any connection to state of marriage (as wife would imply).
Nothing to mistake - A spouse is a significant other in a marriage, civil union, OR common-law marriage, common law meaning living in the same space, sharing bills, referring to each other as partners etc. You fit into the last category, it's all good. My 'spouse' received the same permit as I did when we first came here, if that helps.
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Old 29.08.2021, 12:55
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

Marry her, seems like a smart girl. All problems solved.
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Old 29.08.2021, 16:08
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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Hello together,

I had a discussion with my spouse about our longer term career plans/goals. I am a German speaking EU citizen starting a masters program in Switzerland. I already have highly relevant work experience in the financial service industry in Frankfurt.

My personal work goal would be to start FT at one of the Swiss banks in ZUR.

However, my spouse works in Germany since around 4 years but is initially from South Korea. She studied at a top tier UK University and works now in e commerce for a large tech company.

Looking up the requirements for her to work in Switzerland it seems close to impossible for non EU citizens to get a job here? I've also read a lot of horror stories on reddit.

Is there anyone here who faced a similar issue (one partner having good chances of getting a good job while the other facing difficulties) and give me their insights on how they managed to find a good solution? Are there any workarounds?

Thank you
This would depend on how it's done. As you're not married you might be able to apply for a concubine permit for her which may allow her to work without having to go through the non-EU hiring criteria. I say might because not all cantons offer this particular permit which is specifically for unmarried heterosexual couples.

If it's not available then the only options are she applies for jobs here and hopes to get one under the non-EU hiring criteria which is difficult - or you marry her.

Marriage is the simplest of all the options. She'd get the same permit type as you and be able to work without the non-EU hiring criteria getting in the way.
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Old 30.08.2021, 14:07
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

The financial services industry in Zurich is dying and that wont change any time soon. CS is a mess and will likely be acquired by Deutsche Bank or someone else. UBS doing okay but endless cost cutting in CH as jobs are moved to cheaper locations. Frankfurt should benefit post Brexit and I think quite a few banks will shift positions/assets there in addition to places like Paris and Amsterdam. London is, and always will be, the center of our business in Europe so I would also consider a move there if you're bored of your current location.

Making a massive decision like getting married over something so trivial as a permit makes no sense to me, not a risk/reward trade I would make!
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Old 30.08.2021, 14:19
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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The financial services industry in Zurich is dying and that wont change any time soon. CS is a mess and will likely be acquired by Deutsche Bank or someone else. UBS doing okay but endless cost cutting in CH as jobs are moved to cheaper locations. Frankfurt should benefit post Brexit and I think quite a few banks will shift positions/assets there in addition to places like Paris and Amsterdam. London is, and always will be, the center of our business in Europe so I would also consider a move there if you're bored of your current location.

Making a massive decision like getting married over something so trivial as a permit makes no sense to me, not a risk/reward trade I would make!
What makes you think that the UK will hand over a free visa for his partner ? Same story.

I don't see a reason not to marry someone whom you are taking with you to another country. It's a risk for them in case if you find someone better, they are at a loss and have to go back home.
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Old 30.08.2021, 14:33
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

It is quite clear in my language that 'spouse' is married. A neutral term that does not indicate whether you are married or not is 'partner'. In Switzerland, work and residency permits are not a 'right' for your partner if you are not married. There are exceptions for same-sex 'civil union' partnerships, and for 'fiance' ('concubine') situations, but you have to make a legal and financial commitment to support the person.



That aside, yes, it is a very common problem when moving to Switzerland following a specific job, that the 'partner' or 'spouse' or 'trailing spouse' may have difficulty also following their careers.
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Old 30.08.2021, 15:31
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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I
That aside, yes, it is a very common problem when moving to Switzerland following a specific job, that the 'partner' or 'spouse' or 'trailing spouse' may have difficulty also following their careers.
Sweetpea brings up a very good point.

Rememberthename, I hope your partner finds a suitable job here. She sounds well qualified, hopefully she will not have too difficult a time. But as so many equally well qualified folks who followed a partner to Switzerland learned, too often the hard way:

Please discuss at length what it would mean to your partner, to you, and to you both as a couple , both in financial and personal fullfillment terms, if she is not able to find work in the short/medium/long term. .

I have seen too many marriages and partherships crash over this issue. Best to go in with eyes wide open, possible outcomes planned for.

Wishing you both all the very best.
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  #11  
Old 30.08.2021, 15:50
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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Is there anyone here who faced a similar issue (one partner having good chances of getting a good job while the other facing difficulties) and give me their insights on how they managed to find a good solution? Are there any workarounds?
a) dont believe reddit.
b) yes, landing a job as a non-EU national is a challenge, but not impossible. Plenty of folks in Zurich (and on EF) who managed it.
c) Obviously does the job market in Zurich often require German skills, but in my experience less so than Frankfurt... so if she is fine in FRA will ZRH not be that much harder. Except that people speak with a very funny accent...
d) the concubine permits some mentioned depend on the canton and as far as I remember were they possible in Geneva (and the French speaking part) but not in Zurich... I might be wrong there as it doesnt apply to us.
e) I personally know plenty of Asians in Zurich who seem less qualified than your girlfriend but still managed to make it... and the tech sector is surely better in CH than Frankfurt.

Long story short: I think your girlfriend has a challenging but far from impossible task to find a good job in CH. Sounds like you are planning for a move in a year or two, so I would suggest her to brush up her German... in the worst case will you stay in Frankfurt and its not a bad investment there either.

Some HR departments might filter her CV out for being non-EU, but in my experience do all larger companies just go through the paperwork once they decided on a candidate. Its work and therefore costs for the employer, but I have not heard of the authorities actually ever question an application...
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Old 30.08.2021, 16:14
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

Hello rememberthename - welcome to our community.

I have updated the thread title and moved it to "Employment" which seemed more appropriate for your query.

In my opinion and experiences a lot of the "luck" depends on your girlfriend's attitude, approach and expectations. Your support will also be needed, but I know a lot of trailing partners who succeeded here.

All the best to you both.
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Old 30.08.2021, 16:16
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Re: Problems with spouse getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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The financial services industry in Zurich is dying and that wont change any time soon. CS is a mess and will likely be acquired by Deutsche Bank or someone else. UBS doing okay but endless cost cutting in CH as jobs are moved to cheaper locations. Frankfurt should benefit post Brexit and I think quite a few banks will shift positions/assets there in addition to places like Paris and Amsterdam. London is, and always will be, the center of our business in Europe so I would also consider a move there if you're bored of your current location.

Making a massive decision like getting married over something so trivial as a permit makes no sense to me, not a risk/reward trade I would make!
Thats an interesting opinion. What I am most concerned about Germany is the political environment which is turning, following the current polls, quite socialist.

Building wealth in ZUR seems to be much better than in Frankfurt especially in the long run. That is my main issue about not wanting to stay in Germany. It seems like a ticking time bomb quite frankly. Whereas CH has been a safe haven sheltered from volatility for ages.

I agree with your assessment on CS though. However, I've also been following the FS industry for quite some time and usually these scandals come and go while the big names stay. Of course, if I could pick and choose between an offer from a top tier US bank in London/Frankfurt vs CS/UBS in Zurich, you'd find me in London/Frankfurt.

However, it seems much easier to get into a decent FO role in ZUR as a HSG graduate then getting a IBD stint in FRA/LDN with huge amounts of graduates competing for a few FT roles.
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Old 30.08.2021, 16:52
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

I cannot speak to the financial area. My wife was offered a job in 2019. I have almost 20 years experience in IT (concentration in networking and System Administration). I did not begin my job search until we had been in the country almost a year. As a Non- EU spouse, I had to pass the initial language test and COVID kind of threw a wrinkle into that.

I cannot speak as to how much is COVID related, how much is language related, and how much is not being from the EU. I have only been able to obtain one interview in months of my job search.

So in my opinion, have your spouse start looking now.
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Old 31.08.2021, 01:19
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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Long story short: I think your girlfriend has a challenging but far from impossible task to find a good job in CH. Sounds like you are planning for a move in a year or two, so I would suggest her to brush up her German... in the worst case will you stay in Frankfurt and its not a bad investment there either.
According to his location he's already here.

------------------------

Let me play advocatus diaboli:
Assume she finds a decent job in Zürich, you've moved to somewhere along the ZRH-Winterthur-SG train line. After a short time she loses her job, for whatever reason. I may be wrong with this, but I believe that would threaten her Swiss residence permit, and if she wasn't employed here for more than a year she may be unable to get unemployment benefits. Does she have enough saved to be financially independent for an extended time? Would she have the right to return to Germany in such a case?

Alternatively, what if you remain in Germany but close to the border, say Konstanz? That should allow both of you to commute, to SG or ZRH respectively. You may need her financial support (not enough free time to work because commuting takes 2+ hours each day by car) but it sounds like she could afford that. The point with that is, while you finish the masters she keeps accumulating years towards her German citizenship, which I believe she has the right to after eight years (I may be wrong on this).

With German citizenship in her bag you'd no longer be thrown in limbo if the move to Switzerland later on were to go haywire.

And it leaves marriage an independent decision, that's usually the much bigger financial risk for the man. Building wealth is also something that doesn't start before the masters has been completed.

-------------------------

Question to the forum:
If OP married her and used that for FamilienNachzug (family reunion), wouldn't he need to be able to finance her living here? Either by sufficient income (a stretch considering OP's posting history here, he expects to work maximum 15 hours per week) or savings.
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Old 31.08.2021, 08:29
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

To add to this discussion. My plans are centered on the time post graduation.
While I study, my GF stays in Germany.

I just somehow want to plan out the “what if’s …”. Such as, what if I could get a great offer in Zurich? Is there even a way for us to settle both in CH?
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Old 31.08.2021, 09:02
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

If you're not married, your girlfriend will have to find a job in Zurich. If she is non-EU, then it is somewhat more difficult, but not impossible. However, with only 4 years work experience, she may not meet many requirements for being an expert in her field, unless she happens to be in a niche industry or has niche skills.

With many jobs, it's usually all about luck. Some people have find a job the moment they start looking, others search for years with no success.

If her being with you is important, you should start thinking seriously about marriage ...
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Old 31.08.2021, 09:25
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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I cannot speak to the financial area. My wife was offered a job in 2019. I have almost 20 years experience in IT (concentration in networking and System Administration). I did not begin my job search until we had been in the country almost a year. As a Non- EU spouse, I had to pass the initial language test and COVID kind of threw a wrinkle into that.

I cannot speak as to how much is COVID related, how much is language related, and how much is not being from the EU. I have only been able to obtain one interview in months of my job search.

So in my opinion, have your spouse start looking now.
They must have changed the rules, when we came here you didn't have to pass any language test before looking for a job (we basically were non-EU, treated as non-EU at least, gone through quota applications and what not), well except for the cases where it was a job requirement. I think you should state clearly in your CV or application that you have the right to work here, for instance many HRs have no idea which countries belong to EU so if you thought that's a magic thing, it is not lol.
But I would agree that having a good level of German or of the local language in general, helps a lot.
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Old 31.08.2021, 11:16
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Re: Problems with a partner getting work in Switzerland (Zurich)

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According to his location he's already here.

------------------------

Let me play advocatus diaboli:
Assume she finds a decent job in Zürich, you've moved to somewhere along the ZRH-Winterthur-SG train line. After a short time she loses her job, for whatever reason. I may be wrong with this, but I believe that would threaten her Swiss residence permit, and if she wasn't employed here for more than a year she may be unable to get unemployment benefits. Does she have enough saved to be financially independent for an extended time? Would she have the right to return to Germany in such a case?

Alternatively, what if you remain in Germany but close to the border, say Konstanz? That should allow both of you to commute, to SG or ZRH respectively. You may need her financial support (not enough free time to work because commuting takes 2+ hours each day by car) but it sounds like she could afford that. The point with that is, while you finish the masters she keeps accumulating years towards her German citizenship, which I believe she has the right to after eight years (I may be wrong on this).

With German citizenship in her bag you'd no longer be thrown in limbo if the move to Switzerland later on were to go haywire.

And it leaves marriage an independent decision, that's usually the much bigger financial risk for the man. Building wealth is also something that doesn't start before the masters has been completed.

-------------------------

Question to the forum:
If OP married her and used that for FamilienNachzug (family reunion), wouldn't he need to be able to finance her living here? Either by sufficient income (a stretch considering OP's posting history here, he expects to work maximum 15 hours per week) or savings.
To become a German citizen she needs to renounce her Korean citizenship. Not really doable.
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