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Old 28.07.2015, 22:36
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American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

Hello,

I may be going out on a large limb here. I am a recent University graduate from the states currently working as an Au Pair in the Bodensee area of Germany. I love this part of the world and am hoping to find employment here (preferrably as a teacher). I am running into some difficulties understanding how to apply for a work permit/what type of permit to apply for. Many jobs I have applied for have written me and told me that they could not hire me without a valid work permit. However, from what I have gathered, one must have an offer/contract from the employer before they may apply.

This seems a bit backwards to me. I am looking for any help that I can get, and am incredibly thankful for any advice and interest!

Cheers!
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  #2  
Old 29.07.2015, 08:31
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

You sound young, eager... but need to learn more about the reality of immigration. As a non-EU citizen, immigration to Switzerland is not easy. You need to first determine if you are at all qualified for any kind of permit. For a non-EU and an American to boot, your options are limited.

Please read the many threads on Americans wanting to work in Switzerland - reading those you will see that non EU folks, and especially Americans, have very high barriers to entry.

First, before a non-EU citizen can be hired a company must prove that there are no CH or EU citizens qualified and available to do the job. This is an expensive and time consuming process, one most companies undertake only out of absolute necessity.

You are competing with a labor pool of hundreds of thousands of equally (or better) qualified young people, none of whom need work permits. Few employers are willing to look at non-EU citizens, even fewer willing to go through the expense and hassle of applying for work permits for them. Why should they, when so many people who don't bring that extra baggage and expense are available to do the work?

By the way, you cannot apply for a work permit, the employer must do so. Which is why you are getting rejections - few can justify the unnecessary headache.

In areas where there is a skills shortage, non-EU folks need to be highly qualified with a track record of proven value, or hold qualifications in niche areas.

You have an additional barrier - you are an American, that is, persona non grata. Again, please read the many threads on the subject - Americans have an even harder time these days due to US government policies.

Most Americans who make it over here are highly skilled, have years of experience in their specialty areas, come with a proven track record that is of unique value to a company. Or they have come as international transfers with the company they already work for, for limited time assignment. Or they came with those same skills back in the days when non-EU and EU were on the same playing field, when entry was somewhat easier.

Or they came as spouses of a Swiss/EU citizen.

Which local languages do you speak?

Do you have claim to an EU citizenship in addition to your American one?

And lastly - where did you gain your teaching qualifications? You need to understand if your credentials are recognized here or not. I'll leave others who are more au fait with those regulations to comment.

---
Switzerland has been actively trying to restrict immigration for years now, and going forward we will likely see even stricter measures. Politically, immigration is a hot potato issue; in Feb 2014 the MEI was voted in, requiring the government to take steps to severely limit the numbers pouring in. As Switzerland cannot do anything about EU immigration due to the bilateral treaties, the only recourse is to cut non-EU immigration even further.

---

I wish you all the best - but please be realistic.
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  #3  
Old 29.07.2015, 14:48
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

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Hello,

I may be going out on a large limb here. I am a recent University graduate from the states currently working as an Au Pair in the Bodensee area of Germany. I love this part of the world and am hoping to find employment here (preferrably as a teacher). I am running into some difficulties understanding how to apply for a work permit/what type of permit to apply for. Many jobs I have applied for have written me and told me that they could not hire me without a valid work permit. However, from what I have gathered, one must have an offer/contract from the employer before they may apply.

This seems a bit backwards to me. I am looking for any help that I can get, and am incredibly thankful for any advice and interest!

Cheers!
As American, immigrating to Switzerland is more difficult than it is for an european or latin american to immigrate to the USA.
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Old 31.07.2015, 13:18
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

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As American, immigrating to Switzerland is more difficult than it is for an european or latin american to immigrate to the USA.
There are a couple of provisos but these are obvious so no reflection on anything anybody else has said or not said:

1. Americans (or anybody else) of substantial means.
2. Creative persons of established merit (famous or celebrated artists, poets and the like). My sister thought she qualified as that but no country agreed with her ... except Ireland and so she lived there long enough to get an Irish passport. As we now know she could have had a Swiss one (facilitated naturalization) but by that time it didn't matter anymore to her.
3. Religious workers
4. Diplomatic and quasi-diplomatic personnel, including teachers at embassy-supported and international schools, staff of international organizations. These jobs are highly competitive.

A few wealthy people have obtained economic citizenship in Malta or Cyprus and moved to Switzerland. And as others have said, if you have European (including a Swiss grandparent although that is apparently changing) ancestry or are a descendent of a Holocaust survivor you might possibly be able to claim status. A classmate of mine got Austrian citizenship that way and has lived in Geneva for many years.

The archives of this forum are full of stories of Americans and others who have married Swiss citizens and Swiss permanent residents. I once bought an apartment in Switzerland from a Swiss man who was a "serial polygamist", marrying and having children with a series of non-EU foreigners.
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Old 05.08.2015, 09:43
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

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As American, immigrating to Switzerland is more difficult than it is for an european or latin american to immigrate to the USA.
Getting into the USA legally isn't so easy either. A 19 yo German girl had a visa to visit her cousin in Cleveland for four months. The US border guard said that no one vacationed for four months and the read the girl's Facebook chat messages on her cell phone. The German girl had agreed to watch after her cousin's two children, was refused admission to the US and was placed on the next flight back to Frankfurt.

This commentator thinks the US border guards were trained by the East Germans!

http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/polit...,31390454.html
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Old 05.08.2015, 11:30
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

Everyone is strict on these things. Watching "Border Security: Canada" this morning and a Brit was almost refused entry. His work permit had expired, but he was coming to visit his girlfriend for a month or so - but was planning on helping her parents put up some partition walls at their house. Sorry, no, no. That's taking work away from a Canadian citizen/resident even though he wasn't going to get paid for the work. Luckily everyone agreed that he wouldn't do the work so he was allowed to enter for his holiday. But it could easily have gone the other way.
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Old 11.08.2015, 00:01
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

I am an American sponsored by an employer and on a B visa. I also have a claim to Italian citizenship since by grandfather was born in Italy and did not naturalize until after my father was born. Hungary has even more generous rules than Italy for claiming citizenship "by blood". I am pursuing my claim through an application filed at the Italian consulate in Bern.
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Old 11.08.2015, 07:47
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

All very good advice.

It is regrettable but the fact is that U.S. government policies have not won them too many friends. It makes the job market here even more difficult for US citizens than it is for many other non-EU countries.

Unfortunate but true.
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Old 11.08.2015, 09:46
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

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Everyone is strict on these things. Watching "Border Security: Canada" this morning and a Brit was almost refused entry. His work permit had expired, but he was coming to visit his girlfriend for a month or so - but was planning on helping her parents put up some partition walls at their house. Sorry, no, no. That's taking work away from a Canadian citizen/resident even though he wasn't going to get paid for the work. Luckily everyone agreed that he wouldn't do the work so he was allowed to enter for his holiday. But it could easily have gone the other way.

The trick is to never tell anyone what you are really doing. Of course I am a tourist Mr immigrations orificer I am going to spend a month travelling around, blah blah blah...
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Old 11.08.2015, 11:35
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Re: American hoping to relocate to Switzerland

No, the trick is not to look nervous and stick to your story no matter what. These border guards are persistent with their questioning.
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