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Old 24.04.2017, 16:35
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British Graduate

Hi there,

I'm from the UK and moved in September over here to start afresh. As of yet I have not found a job. I have seen lots of information regarding permits and whatnot, but I just wanted to double check, A) How long I can stay here whilst seeking employment? B) What is the procedure once I find a job C) What is the latest update on Brexit's impact on UK expats living in Switzerland?

Many thanks in advance, and sorry if I have repeated any posts.

Shane
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  #2  
Old 24.04.2017, 16:47
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Re: British Graduate

a) 3 months without registering as being a resident. Maybe 3 months after that if you have sufficient funds to support yourself to get a permit.

If you haven't registered yet, then you've been here illegally since January.

b) Take employment contract to the commune admin office to either get a permit if you don't have one already or to change your permit to show that you're now working. Whether it's an L or a B will depend on the length of the contract.

c) Exactly the same as it was on 24th June 2016. Status quo until everyone actually gets down to negotiating a deal and agreeing on it.
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Old 24.04.2017, 17:16
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Re: British Graduate

Don't worry I've left the country and came back before multiple times. This is the start of a 3 month period.

Many thanks for your help.

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a) 3 months without registering as being a resident. Maybe 3 months after that if you have sufficient funds to support yourself to get a permit.

If you haven't registered yet, then you've been here illegally since January.

b) Take employment contract to the commune admin office to either get a permit if you don't have one already or to change your permit to show that you're now working. Whether it's an L or a B will depend on the length of the contract.

c) Exactly the same as it was on 24th June 2016. Status quo until everyone actually gets down to negotiating a deal and agreeing on it.
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Old 24.04.2017, 17:40
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Re: British Graduate

Without good language skills (more than "A2") and experience, it is going to be very difficult for you to find work with a salary that allows you to live correctly.

Sorry to be so brutal, but that's the reality, especially with the Swiss voting against too many foreigners.
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Old 24.04.2017, 19:50
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Re: British Graduate

It's not going to be easy I'm afraid. Fining unskilled jobs in Lausanne is really hard. Even as a Swiss citizen, finding summer work if you're a student is exhausting. You should practise writing cover letters and make sure your CV is in the Swiss style, i.e. don't forget to attach a picture, your DOB, your gender, etc..
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Old 29.04.2017, 21:04
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Re: British Graduate

You need really specific experience & qualifications in the rest of Europe. Eg not just what degree, but what modules you did. European grads (your competition) will typically have a 2 year masters not just bachelor's, plus language skills. Very different to the UK where you take any degree and apply for any old graduate job, citing "transferable skills".

I know grads who have found jobs here (albeit not British). But they had very specific skills eg electronic engineering masters with a specialism in motor design, now working for a company researching motors... And in specialist fields I do hear of people having difficulty recruiting qualified candidates, even at graduate level.

Also there is not really the same ability to get casual work here compared to the UK eg can't rock up with an enthusiastic smile and get bar work, without an apprenticeship in that, experience, and of course German.

Apart from the 3 months rule before registering, getting health insurance etc, I think there are also limits on the cumulative number of days per year, so check that. It might actually help you to get properly registered and have a permit in hand as well, more attractive to employers. At least, that's what recruiters have told me (my British bf is searching for a job here).. After the initial 3 months, you should (with enough money) be able to get a L permit for another 3 months, renewable for up to a year, while you search
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Old 01.05.2017, 13:18
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Re: British Graduate

Okay, thanks for your help! What would you suggest I'd be best to do right now? Keep up the job search for this niche job role that I fit? work on my language skills? or more training in terms of a masters etc.?

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You need really specific experience & qualifications in the rest of Europe. Eg not just what degree, but what modules you did. European grads (your competition) will typically have a 2 year masters not just bachelor's, plus language skills. Very different to the UK where you take any degree and apply for any old graduate job, citing "transferable skills".

I know grads who have found jobs here (albeit not British). But they had very specific skills eg electronic engineering masters with a specialism in motor design, now working for a company researching motors... And in specialist fields I do hear of people having difficulty recruiting qualified candidates, even at graduate level.

Also there is not really the same ability to get casual work here compared to the UK eg can't rock up with an enthusiastic smile and get bar work, without an apprenticeship in that, experience, and of course German.

Apart from the 3 months rule before registering, getting health insurance etc, I think there are also limits on the cumulative number of days per year, so check that. It might actually help you to get properly registered and have a permit in hand as well, more attractive to employers. At least, that's what recruiters have told me (my British bf is searching for a job here).. After the initial 3 months, you should (with enough money) be able to get a L permit for another 3 months, renewable for up to a year, while you search
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Old 01.05.2017, 14:14
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Re: British Graduate

Even if you go for a Masters in Politics where is that going to lead you in terms of jobs? Unless you're wanting to work for an NGO I can't see many job opportunities here. Unlike the UK, just having any old degree (excuse the phrase), doesn't mean it'll get you a job outside that field. Swiss employers are looking for people with degrees relevant to the job.

You said in another thread that you're here with your partner. Do you/they realise that you could apply for a concubine permit if they're prepared to agree to be financially responsible for you for 5 years? Assuming it's a long term, committed relationship that may get the much needed permit which will push you that bit further up the candidate ladder. It's not a guarantee of a permit, but may be worth investigating.

Otherwise, the best bet - though I doubt you want to hear it - is go back to the UK, get a job to gain experience and also work on the language. Then come back in a few years' time when you have more to offer an employer. At the moment, assuming there are some jobs in your field, you're competing with people who do speak a Swiss language or even 2 and may have some experience to call on as well.
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Old 01.05.2017, 14:16
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Re: British Graduate

I'd suggest you start trying to get as much advice specific to your situation as possible - I doubt any of us on this forum are in your shoes of being a new graduate in 2017. My experience in 2003 will not be relevant now! And jobs / job hunting in my field could be very different to your field. You don't say what field your degree was in.

As practical suggestions, have you signed up with recruiters, ideally ones specialised in your field? They are often the best way to find out about jobs - many of which will never get advertised before being filled. Some recruiters can be a bit slimy salesmen types, but some are really excellent, and can offer good advice. It might take time to work out which are the good ones!

Xing is the Germanic region equivalent of LinkedIn, so I'd put a profile up there. On LinkedIn I only ever get contacted by London-based recruiters with limited Swiss market knowledge or roles. The Swiss recruiters contacting me through Xing have been much better.

There is a British Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) which you could sign up to, and they have some free socialising events as well as expensive after dinner speakers and the like. You can probably find other ways to network as well - I hate that sort of thing, but sadly in life it's often who you know...

There is a facebook group "English Speaking Jobs in Zurich" - no idea what it's like though.

Do any of the universities have careers centres or anything like that? Or can you make connections with other new graduates & final year students, to see how they go about getting jobs? e.g. is it worth making speculative applications to a company, asking for any work experience on offer, even when they are not advertising for a position?

In Germany at least it is (sadly) common to take multiple low or unpaid internships as a graduate, to get enough specific work experience. Does that apply in Switzerland? How does one go after such positions? Speculative applications? Contacts with unis/grads maybe will help here - or Google!

In the meantime, make sure your CV is in Swiss style - google this, but in particular, have a professional-looking photo, opening paragraph about your key skills, everything in the right order. Applications must be made with a cover letter in a particular style. You also usually need to provide copies of all your certifications up front and 2 written reference letters. For an English person, this means begging someone to write a reference in a personal capacity, as they are not given out by companies like in Germany/Switzerland e.g. try your university tutor, past employers. I'd do some online research to see exactly what is appropriate for a new graduate here, and be mindful of the specific format required for these references.

I'm sure a Masters would be useful but whether it would be worth the cost (whatever that is here), I've no idea, maybe it would be specific to your field. Also if you started in September 2017, I guess you'd finish in September 2019 after Brexit. People love qualifications here though - is there anything else you can work towards in your spare time, that is relevant to your field?

Personally I think you should crack on learning German - it can only help. With fluent/business German (e.g. probably C1 upwards) it will surely help a lot in finding a job. Otherwise you'll certainly be looking for an English language job, but at least some German skills shows that you are keen, you can chat to German colleagues, and that you are committed to life in Switzerland. I only have B1/B2 German, no way I could work in German, but I always try to speak German at first when arriving for an interview, and do get the impression that it impresses, even if it did not land me the interview in the first place, and I might never speak it again in the workplace!

You might also want to throw your net wider e.g. Germany, Netherlands (on the basis that getting a toehold in any EU/EEA state before Brexit is your aim, even if Switzerland came later)

The above is just suggestions, I am not really an expert in Swiss job hunting myself.
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Old 01.05.2017, 14:30
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Re: British Graduate

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Even if you go for a Masters in
Otherwise, the best bet - though I doubt you want to hear it - is go back to the UK, get a job to gain experience and also work on the language. Then come back in a few years' time when you have more to offer an employer. At the moment, assuming there are some jobs in your field, you're competing with people who do speak a Swiss language or even 2 and may have some experience to call on as well.
Yes I'd agree with this I'm afraid. This is essentially what I did in 2005, when I realised how the Germanic job market worked. I didn't have a degree specific to the field I wanted to work in, nor umpteen relevant internships. 12 years of experience later, and I can just about get by without having a relevant finance degree when applying for jobs. (I expect you'd only need a few years' of experience to make the move abroad, but for me that coincided with the financial crash, when jobs everywhere dried up.)

Consider applying for a graduate training scheme with a big company in the UK, as a foot in to a useful business field. Working at a big multinational, you may even have opportunities to work abroad, by transferring within the company, which would be by far the easiest way to achieve this.

Or maybe you can retrain via a masters e.g. in business or finance?

A politics degree is tough, as not sure what it specifically sets you up to do in the workplace. Even to work here as a secretary / office manager, there are vocational training courses for that, compared to the UK where's you'd just swing by a temping agency to land such a role.
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Old 01.05.2017, 15:44
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Re: British Graduate

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Personally I think you should crack on learning German - it can only help. With fluent/business German (e.g. probably C1 upwards) ...
With fluent German in Lausanne (which is what shows as OP's location) you can pretty much wipe your 'underbody'
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Old 01.05.2017, 15:53
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Re: British Graduate

You could also consider starting fresh with a new bachelors degree in Lausanne. A-levels are only accepted for Swiss universities if you meet certain subject requirements, but a BA or BSc will let you register for any undergrad course except medicine.
UNIL offers cheap intensive French classes which could be of help.
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Old 01.05.2017, 16:15
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Re: British Graduate

Most Bachelors are taught in a Swiss language so back to that problem again.
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Old 02.05.2017, 11:27
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Re: British Graduate

Yes but you can take advantage of the intensive language classes if you're a registered student. If you study really hard you could potentially even pass the first year with a few resits.
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Old 02.05.2017, 11:47
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Re: British Graduate

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Yes but you can take advantage of the intensive language classes if you're a registered student. If you study really hard you could potentially even pass the first year with a few resits.


May be but then you won´t be accepted to the Bachelor course if you do not already speak the language?
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Old 02.05.2017, 17:01
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Re: British Graduate

An NGO would interest me, so maybe I should look at specifiying in terms of a masters. As for the concubine permit, I don't qualify for that I beleive, as I am in a same-sex relationship

As for back to London, that's becoming increasingly more likely, though my life is kinda of here now and so is my partner (He's halfway through a business degree)

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Even if you go for a Masters in Politics where is that going to lead you in terms of jobs? Unless you're wanting to work for an NGO I can't see many job opportunities here. Unlike the UK, just having any old degree (excuse the phrase), doesn't mean it'll get you a job outside that field. Swiss employers are looking for people with degrees relevant to the job.

You said in another thread that you're here with your partner. Do you/they realise that you could apply for a concubine permit if they're prepared to agree to be financially responsible for you for 5 years? Assuming it's a long term, committed relationship that may get the much needed permit which will push you that bit further up the candidate ladder. It's not a guarantee of a permit, but may be worth investigating.

Otherwise, the best bet - though I doubt you want to hear it - is go back to the UK, get a job to gain experience and also work on the language. Then come back in a few years' time when you have more to offer an employer. At the moment, assuming there are some jobs in your field, you're competing with people who do speak a Swiss language or even 2 and may have some experience to call on as well.
Alsion, thanks for your detailed post! My degree is Politics and Interntional Relations and i'd ideally want to work for a UN body, NGO or diplomacy organisation and I'm signed up with all the recruiters/job sites e.g. Adecco, Randstad, Indeed online.

Also, im working on my french at the moment, I live in the french speaking part of Switzerland, so German isn't so relevant here (though it will probably be my next language). But would Xing still be relevant for the french part, or does anyone know of a french equivalent? The annoying thing is I can no longer do any unpaid internships, being here for 8 months and doing french courses has eaten into my savings. I'm very much at a crossroads and ideally I want to stay here. I shall look into the other things you have mentioned.

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I'd suggest you start trying to get as much advice specific to your situation as possible - I doubt any of us on this forum are in your shoes of being a new graduate in 2017. My experience in 2003 will not be relevant now! And jobs / job hunting in my field could be very different to your field. You don't say what field your degree was in.

As practical suggestions, have you signed up with recruiters, ideally ones specialised in your field? They are often the best way to find out about jobs - many of which will never get advertised before being filled. Some recruiters can be a bit slimy salesmen types, but some are really excellent, and can offer good advice. It might take time to work out which are the good ones!

Xing is the Germanic region equivalent of LinkedIn, so I'd put a profile up there. On LinkedIn I only ever get contacted by London-based recruiters with limited Swiss market knowledge or roles. The Swiss recruiters contacting me through Xing have been much better.

There is a British Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) which you could sign up to, and they have some free socialising events as well as expensive after dinner speakers and the like. You can probably find other ways to network as well - I hate that sort of thing, but sadly in life it's often who you know...

There is a facebook group "English Speaking Jobs in Zurich" - no idea what it's like though.

Do any of the universities have careers centres or anything like that? Or can you make connections with other new graduates & final year students, to see how they go about getting jobs? e.g. is it worth making speculative applications to a company, asking for any work experience on offer, even when they are not advertising for a position?

In Germany at least it is (sadly) common to take multiple low or unpaid internships as a graduate, to get enough specific work experience. Does that apply in Switzerland? How does one go after such positions? Speculative applications? Contacts with unis/grads maybe will help here - or Google!

In the meantime, make sure your CV is in Swiss style - google this, but in particular, have a professional-looking photo, opening paragraph about your key skills, everything in the right order. Applications must be made with a cover letter in a particular style. You also usually need to provide copies of all your certifications up front and 2 written reference letters. For an English person, this means begging someone to write a reference in a personal capacity, as they are not given out by companies like in Germany/Switzerland e.g. try your university tutor, past employers. I'd do some online research to see exactly what is appropriate for a new graduate here, and be mindful of the specific format required for these references.

I'm sure a Masters would be useful but whether it would be worth the cost (whatever that is here), I've no idea, maybe it would be specific to your field. Also if you started in September 2017, I guess you'd finish in September 2019 after Brexit. People love qualifications here though - is there anything else you can work towards in your spare time, that is relevant to your field?

Personally I think you should crack on learning German - it can only help. With fluent/business German (e.g. probably C1 upwards) it will surely help a lot in finding a job. Otherwise you'll certainly be looking for an English language job, but at least some German skills shows that you are keen, you can chat to German colleagues, and that you are committed to life in Switzerland. I only have B1/B2 German, no way I could work in German, but I always try to speak German at first when arriving for an interview, and do get the impression that it impresses, even if it did not land me the interview in the first place, and I might never speak it again in the workplace!

You might also want to throw your net wider e.g. Germany, Netherlands (on the basis that getting a toehold in any EU/EEA state before Brexit is your aim, even if Switzerland came later)

The above is just suggestions, I am not really an expert in Swiss job hunting myself.
I'd ideally want to stay here, my partner is here and i've kind of made a home here. I realise that back to the UK is an option but I would only really do that short-term, not least because of the rental costs in London, but my relationship. As for retraining, I dont really have interest in working in a pure business/ finance field and retraining would take time. If i were to go back into education it would be to specialise my Politics bachelors, as I agree with you that its hard to pinpoint exactly where it leads me because it is so broad.

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Yes I'd agree with this I'm afraid. This is essentially what I did in 2005, when I realised how the Germanic job market worked. I didn't have a degree specific to the field I wanted to work in, nor umpteen relevant internships. 12 years of experience later, and I can just about get by without having a relevant finance degree when applying for jobs. (I expect you'd only need a few years' of experience to make the move abroad, but for me that coincided with the financial crash, when jobs everywhere dried up.)

Consider applying for a graduate training scheme with a big company in the UK, as a foot in to a useful business field. Working at a big multinational, you may even have opportunities to work abroad, by transferring within the company, which would be by far the easiest way to achieve this.

Or maybe you can retrain via a masters e.g. in business or finance?

A politics degree is tough, as not sure what it specifically sets you up to do in the workplace. Even to work here as a secretary / office manager, there are vocational training courses for that, compared to the UK where's you'd just swing by a temping agency to land such a role.
Sorry, I dont understand the underbody reference? German isn't really relevant here.

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With fluent German in Lausanne (which is what shows as OP's location) you can pretty much wipe your 'underbody'
That indeed is another option, I guess. That keeps me here. Is cheaper than a UK degree but again, it will be in french BUT if I could get my french to a decent level before then I could do it.

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You could also consider starting fresh with a new bachelors degree in Lausanne. A-levels are only accepted for Swiss universities if you meet certain subject requirements, but a BA or BSc will let you register for any undergrad course except medicine.
UNIL offers cheap intensive French classes which could be of help.
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Old 02.05.2017, 17:20
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Re: British Graduate

Then consider formalising your relationship. The Swiss do recognise same-sex registered partnerships and that would get you a dependent's permit.

https://www.ch.ch/en/registered-partnership/

However, be aware that if you find a job with an NGO then that permit will have to be given up for a diplomatic one. Doesn't cause any problems with staying here, but you wouldn't get the other one back until you leave your NGO job. And if Swiss citizenship is a long term goal then years spent on a diplomatic permit no longer count towards the residency requirement and nor can you apply citizenship with a Ci permit any more.
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Old 02.05.2017, 19:47
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Re: British Graduate

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Without good language skills (more than "A2") and experience, it is going to be very difficult for you to find work with a salary that allows you to live correctly.


true and yet not true. It all depends what profession/industry you are trying to get into. I worked for many years in Geneva, most people there where I worked and socialised spoke little to no French, these pople worked in both finance (foreign banks and brokers where English is the official language) and world organisations such as the UN, WHO and UNISEF, so it is possible to find that job.


Regarding a work permit, it is also possible if you find a position in the two aforementioned industries, the employer will organised the application, as it was done for my foreign work colleagues.


So, chin up and don't give up hope!
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Old 02.05.2017, 19:58
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Re: British Graduate

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true and yet not true. It all depends what profession/industry you are trying to get into. I worked for many years in Geneva, most people there where I worked and socialised spoke little to no French, these pople worked in both finance (foreign banks and brokers where English is the official language) and world organisations such as the UN, WHO and UNISEF, so it is possible to find that job.


Regarding a work permit, it is also possible if you find a position in the two aforementioned industries, the employer will organised the application, as it was done for my foreign work colleagues.


So, chin up and don't give up hope!
Banks, finance, these are high level jobs and if you hadn't noticed bank/finance employees are being laid off all over the place....

UN /WHO /UNISEF all have pick of the crop and insist on very stringent qualities, they have unpaid and paid interns, they are not just some outfit that will employ anybody, they're actually quite fussy usually.
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Old 02.05.2017, 20:04
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Re: British Graduate

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true and yet not true. It all depends what profession/industry you are trying to get into. I worked for many years in Geneva, most people there where I worked and socialised spoke little to no French, these pople worked in both finance (foreign banks and brokers where English is the official language) and world organisations such as the UN, WHO and UNISEF, so it is possible to find that job.


Regarding a work permit, it is also possible if you find a position in the two aforementioned industries, the employer will organised the application, as it was done for my foreign work colleagues.


So, chin up and don't give up hope!
Employers only organise permits for non-EU nationals, indeed it can only be done by employers applying for a permit on their behalf. EU nationals do it themselves, by presenting their employment contract to their commune admin office/cantonal migration office.
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