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Old 22.06.2008, 19:25
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Chances of Permit B Approval

I am (hopefully) moving to Switzerland on Aug 1st, but the company I've been offered a job through has not yet procured the Permit B. They are asking me to book flights (with cancellation insurance) despite that they've not had my permit approved.

The company is a global biotech firm, and I'm being transferred between facilities. I am a biochemist for them, however, I am not a PhD, nor am I in any way "upper management." The immigration laws sound pretty strict, even on transferring employees.

My question is: I'm concerned that by the time they will know whether the permit is approved/denied, it will be less than two weeks before arrival time. What are the odds of this visa being approved/denied? I understand its case-by-case, but even ballpark guesses would help me sleep at night.

Hope to write to you all in-country!

Cheers
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Old 22.06.2008, 19:36
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

What does your company say? If they think it's a problem, it could be.

If they are telling you it's nothing to worry about, sleep well. (I know, easier said than done. When my husband and I were in the same situation, we were going nuts - didn't help we had to also sell our house in the U.S.) While it's your first time, they've probably moved lots of employees. They probably have lots of experience with the local government and know what to expect.

I can imagine, though, that your expected arrival date may be delayed by a few weeks due to normal bureaucracy. And every canton is different.
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Old 22.06.2008, 19:42
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Where are you from?

If you are from an EU-17 country, then if you have a work contract you get a work permit, simple.

It may take a while to come through, but once you sign in on arrival in Switzerland you can work straight away.

Not sure on rules for non EU countries.
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Old 22.06.2008, 20:01
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

I am American. So, the EU rules very sadly don't apply to me. At one point in my life, while studying in Ireland, I gave semi-serious thought to marrying a European so that this wouldn't happen somewhere down the line. Looks like I should've gone with that impulse, hah!

The company is sending mixed signals: One rep said the gov't shouldn't cause many problems. Another said that they were advised that it would be extremely difficult. They are very procedurally-correct about it, and continually tell us that nothing is guaranteed. But they also make more colloquial remarks about how much we will like the weather/activities/culture there as soon as we get there.

Selling a house? Lord, that's courage. I defer to you completely for gambling on that Permit. I am very fortunate not to have anything that serious hanging in the balance!
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Old 22.06.2008, 20:10
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Ok, can't really help you then, sorry.

But I know people who have been kept waiting until the week before they start work to be told that they can come. They were from the Czech Republic and Japan though.
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Old 23.06.2008, 13:17
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

If you are not Swiss or EU-17, then the norm is that the company must show that there is no Swiss or EU-17 person available to do the job. In today's climate that is not easy. So if you don't have special skills, a PhD or are in top management, I'd say the chances are about 50/50 of you getting the permit, unless the company makes a great effort on your behalf....

Good Luck.

Jim
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Old 23.06.2008, 13:49
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Internal company transfers are not _that_ difficult becuase they really just need to specify that they need the employees specific experience /skill set, knowledge transfer, understanding of internal procedures, etc. to get the transfer approved.

Most of the relocations I deal with are internal company transfers.

YMMV.
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Old 23.06.2008, 14:11
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Being American and knowing about 10 who applied for permits. Not one of us was rejected. Especially in canton Neuchâtel. Although it has large companies, it seems that most of the companies are in Geneva, Vaud, Basel, Bern and Zurich. (Each canton has an alloted amount they give out.)

I bit the bullet as well. Downsized my while apartment into 2 suitcases and what filled a 5x5 storage locker. Gave up my place. And moved into the parents for 2 weeks while awaiting approval. It came on a tuesday, I was on the 2pm flight out on wed.

I'm going to be the optimistic American and say just go on as if you were getting the permit. That's what travel ins. is for. Although it wouldn't hurt to know that you have an emergency backup plan of a place to stay. Worse case, your just really inconvienced for a bit.
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Old 24.06.2008, 08:09
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

I appreciate the responses. I feel much better, at least as much as to continue on in confidence (or at least sufficient hope) to get things done.

Also, I am apparently quite spoiled, because it seems people here gave up quite a bit on a hope of a visa, whereas as of yet, I've not had to give up anything (my brother will inherit my apt room, and will back-out if I'm denied a visa, I don't have to 'resign' from work until the permit is approved etc). I have a great respect for people who downsize,sell, or otherwise put themselves in potential loss for this kind of opportunity.

Happy to be on this web board. Cheers,

~Demo
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Old 24.06.2008, 08:51
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Dear Demosthenes

One part of your worry could be removed if you asked your employer to purchase you plane tickets for you - they will be used to doing this and getting the fully refundable tickets, whereas you won't.

Presumably they will reimburse you anyway, so what difference should it make?
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Old 24.06.2008, 09:06
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Since you are a highly skilled specialist, the permit should not be a
problem.

You will have to pick up your Visa in a country outside of Switzerland.
Try speaking with your HR representative to arrange where you
can pick it up.

Once you pick up your Visa, you can enter the country, and the
actual work permit is only a formality.

Good luck!
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Old 24.06.2008, 09:08
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

Quote:
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Dear Demosthenes

One part of your worry could be removed if you asked your employer to purchase you plane tickets for you - they will be used to doing this and getting the fully refundable tickets, whereas you won't.

Presumably they will reimburse you anyway, so what difference should it make?
I only know of companies that will do this on a reimbursement basis. Not
many, will fork out cash in advance.
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Old 24.06.2008, 09:10
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

I definitely had that thought. I originally requested the use of a consultant firm which helps upper management expats find housing/cars etc, but that request was denied per the arrangement being a flat stipend. Therefore, I didn't feel it was my place to ask for something even more expensive.

Actually, regarding the flight, it was my thought that perhaps I should purchase the tickets. That way, should I be denied, I will at least have a Swiss holiday before returning to my current State-side drudgery. Hah.

Thanks!

~Demo
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Old 24.06.2008, 16:37
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Re: Chances of Permit B Approval

really don't know much about the entire Swiss laws, but I guess I could at least share my information and hope that this will make you more relaxed.

I also have a US passport and just did an inter-company transfer to Switzerland from the states. At first, I read the rules about Swiss work visa on the Swiss consulate website, and the whole thing about "showing that no Swiss or EU citizen qualifies for the job" part made me a bit worried about my visa. I don't have any advanced degree either, just a BS and couple years of working experience. The HR lady at my company made it sounded like something not 100% although everyone else seems to suggest it's going to be an easy process. I always comforted myself by thinking that lots of ppl from my company have done it already, so it must not be hard.

Anyways, at the end, my employer submitted everything for me early April this year and I got my permit approved mid May. It was easy on my part as I only had to provide a copy of my resume and diploma. After I got here, I met the attorney we have in house and all sudden realized that it's actually not hard to get a working visa at all, at least, in his opinion, it's not a big deal. The rules are there, but I think if you work for a firm large enough (which I assume you do with international inter-company transfers), things should be reasonably easy. As others have said, while it might be your first experience (just like mine), it might be something the company does on a regular basis.
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