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Old 20.11.2020, 05:24
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Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

Hi everyone!
What is considered being qualified enough to apply in Switzerland if you are not from the EU?

Pros: I speak French, Italian, English and Spanish. I obtained a master in Public Administration in NY (currently being apostilled). Honor roll student, more than 3 scholarships to fund my education, including one to study in the US (Fulbright alumni funded by Dpt of State).

Cons: I’m Bolivian and getting a visa is not easy. My BA in International Relations was obtained in Bolivia (already apostilled). Work experience is diverse because it’s very difficult to find AND KEEP a job here: experience as a tutor, Teacher Assistant, Administrative Assistant, Assistant to the Commerce Officer, Virtual Assistant, and Translation.

Dream job would be in the UN but any nonprofit or multinational would be amazing. Is this hopeless? Do I have any chance?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Merci.
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  #2  
Old 20.11.2020, 07:47
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

Well, I don't know if it's different for the international organisations or not since they have a different permit structure, but this is the criteria for being hired by a Swiss employer.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

And this is the process the application has to go through.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ensablauf.html

Given your work experience I don't think any Swiss employer would be able to get a permit for you; those sort of positions simply aren't specialised enough to justify the time/effort/cost to make an application that would certainly fail. NGO's on the other hand ... who knows?
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Old 20.11.2020, 10:08
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

If you're a non-EU and would like to get a job that'd get you a work permit (permit B/ L), it's honestly next to impossible, especially when you're just starting out. Some industries are easier than others I believe, e.g. IT, banking, finance, etc, but certainly not international relations.

If a Swiss-based company does give a non-EU a job offer and help you apply for the work permit, usually it's not only because you're highly qualified, but also because you're getting a senior position.

International organisations in Switzerland, e.g. UN, give out a special kind of permit. Your best bet is honestly there, but the jobs you mentioned you have done don't sound relevant. Do you have relevant experiences in this field? e.g. from a local NGO, or even voluntary work?

I think you should try applying to internships at IOs first. That would be a start.

P.S. I also work for international organisations, so feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!
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Old 20.11.2020, 10:52
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

Working for an international organisation does not give you permanent residency status in Switzerland. Employees of Government organisations like the UN, WHO, WIPO, UNHCR, ILO, IOM, ISO, ITU, WMO, WTO, and others get a carte de legitimisation (CDI) which has both perks and drawbacks. You would not be part of AVS, nor employment insurance. If you leave you lose your job you are expected to leave the country.

Note there are non governmental organisations (IOC, IATA, etc) that have a special status. Easier for them to get non-EU permits, but very specialised workforce.
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Old 20.11.2020, 12:08
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

What kind of residence permit do you have? If you have at least a B permit then you can apply to a UN org G level service. That means locally hired staff. Otherwise your only option is a P position. If you don't have a lot of experience (min. 5 years) in a specific post you are applying for, I would say forget about it. There are too much competition. Also a lot of G positions (general service) are hard to get because people inside the staff pool already line up internally as a lot of them only have short period contracts.

I would suggest your government's Mission to the UN or the embassy. Maybe they need staff? Or at least make a connection from there. Good luck.
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Old 20.11.2020, 16:25
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If you're a non-EU and would like to get a job that'd get you a work permit (permit B/ L), it's honestly next to impossible, especially when you're just starting out. Some industries are easier than others I believe, e.g. IT, banking, finance, etc, but certainly not international relations.

If a Swiss-based company does give a non-EU a job offer and help you apply for the work permit, usually it's not only because you're highly qualified, but also because you're getting a senior position.

International organisations in Switzerland, e.g. UN, give out a special kind of permit. Your best bet is honestly there, but the jobs you mentioned you have done don't sound relevant. Do you have relevant experiences in this field? e.g. from a local NGO, or even voluntary work?




I think you should try applying to internships at IOs first. That would be a start.

P.S. I also work for international organisations, so feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!
Hi, thank you for your response!
I've worked as an administrative assistant for a local environmental NGO then interned as a grant writer and administrative assistant in the US for an immigration NGO.

I've also volunteered at my university for +3 years as a Teacher Assistant for Senior citizens and most of my volunteering experiences are related to teaching vulnerable populations like children and the elderly.

May I send you my LinkedIn profile (if it doesn't bother you) to have some more ideas?

TIA.

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Well, I don't know if it's different for the international organisations or not since they have a different permit structure, but this is the criteria for being hired by a Swiss employer.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

And this is the process the application has to go through.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ensablauf.html

Given your work experience I don't think any Swiss employer would be able to get a permit for you; those sort of positions simply aren't specialised enough to justify the time/effort/cost to make an application that would certainly fail. NGO's on the other hand ... who knows?
Hello, thank you for answering!

Well, I don't know if my master in Public Administration would be relevant for a for profit organization. I think NGOs or IOs would be my best bet but have no idea how to do it.

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What kind of residence permit do you have? If you have at least a B permit then you can apply to a UN org G level service. That means locally hired staff. Otherwise your only option is a P position. If you don't have a lot of experience (min. 5 years) in a specific post you are applying for, I would say forget about it. There are too much competition. Also a lot of G positions (general service) are hard to get because people inside the staff pool already line up internally as a lot of them only have short period contracts.

I would suggest your government's Mission to the UN or the embassy. Maybe they need staff? Or at least make a connection from there. Good luck.
Hi, thank you for the feedback!

I am not currently there so no permit for now.

My government would never give a chance to someone who is not from their political party and their practices are not transparent in regard to who is chosen, as nepotism is rampant. I've tried already 5 years ago, I complied with all the requirements to apply as a member of my country's Mission to the UN but they chose their children (no French, no master degree) over other qualified individuals like myself

Last edited by roegner; 20.11.2020 at 16:43. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 20.11.2020, 16:47
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

Well, work permits are requested by employers to local authorities in CH. Step 1 is finding an employer that wants to hire you and undergo the permit process.

Individuals don't ask for residence permits unless you want to set up your own business.
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Old 20.11.2020, 18:51
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

What about Switzerland interests you? Have you visited and loved the mountains or you just dream of somewhere new? It might help focus your job search if you know why you want to be here, what area you might like to live in, etc., and how you can convince a Swiss employer (or UN or NGO) why they need to hire you and not someone else.
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Old 20.11.2020, 22:03
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

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What about Switzerland interests you? Have you visited and loved the mountains or you just dream of somewhere new? It might help focus your job search if you know why you want to be here, what area you might like to live in, etc., and how you can convince a Swiss employer (or UN or NGO) why they need to hire you and not someone else.
I lived there during my teenage years, I've got family and some friends that I still have contact with, that's how I'm bilingual and I still speak French.
Unfortunately, we didn't get the permit renewal (not enough years to apply for the passport either) and after that, I became an adult, so I have to apply by myself now.

Growing up in a multinational and multilingual environment, I've always dreamed about working at the UN ... to me, speaking three languages or having friends from totally different cultures was normal.

I honestly thought I had a good background but my nationality doesn't help, both because of the restrictions related to immigration and the difficulties to build a solid professional experience.
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Old 24.11.2020, 00:44
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

Look for UN positions and give it a try, but be very, very patient as the UN is veeeery slow (las cosas de palacio van despacio). A Bolivian passport would actually be helpful. Most of the UN system works on quotas, so many people with double nationalities claim to be from the 'rare' one. Western European passports are in oversupply, Bolivia contributes little to the budget but it's a favoured LDC.
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Old 24.11.2020, 07:15
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

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Look for UN positions and give it a try, but be very, very patient as the UN is veeeery slow (las cosas de palacio van despacio). A Bolivian passport would actually be helpful. Most of the UN system works on quotas, so many people with double nationalities claim to be from the 'rare' one. Western European passports are in oversupply, Bolivia contributes little to the budget but it's a favoured LDC.
Hi, I didn't know that! it's super helpful.
Thank you so much
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Old 24.11.2020, 09:59
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

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Western European passports are in oversupply, Bolivia contributes little to the budget but it's a favoured LDC.
It might be underrepresented and quite poor relative to other countries but it is not an LDC, nor "favoured LDC" whatever that may mean.
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Old 24.11.2020, 14:19
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Re: Honest feedback needed, non-EU citizen to find a job

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It might be underrepresented and quite poor relative to other countries but it is not an LDC, nor "favoured LDC" whatever that may mean.
LDC, for those who don't know, means "least developed country". The list is here:
https://unctad.org/topic/vulnerable-...countries/list

They don't distinguish "favoured" or not, and Bolivia is not on the list.

I agree that UN agencies try to diversify nationalities where possible when making hiring choices.

At OP's experience level, I'd assume the General Service category jobs are a good fit. Unfortunately most of these are recruited locally - which means you must already be living in Switzerland with a valid permit here before you can get a GS job at the UN.

Still, why not check it out and take the test to see how you do?
https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=SC
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