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Old 03.08.2010, 15:05
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Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

Hi Everyone,

OK, so after more than 1 year this problem is still bugging me and I hope some fellow EFers can shed some light:

I work as a postdoc at the cantonal university. I am non-EU.
Initially I was on a one year contract and was given a one-year B permit.
After this contract finished I was given a 3-year contract, which I have just signed and consequently received my new permit - which is still a B, and still only for 1 year. Whilst it is annoying to only have a 1 year permit, I understand this.

But there is one thing I don't understand:

Why am I still expected to pay for university inscription (student fees) every semester?? We are not talking a heap of money (CHF 115 per semester), but add that to the yearly cost of permit renewals and it gets annoying...particularly because no one can tell me why it is necessary!

I have asked other postdocs here, but they are all from the EU...and none of them are required to pay these fees.

I have asked the University who keep saying that it is because my permit is a student permit....so I ask the cantonal authorities why my permit is a student permit and they say it is because I am a student (and pay fees)...

So can anyone tell me is this is normal, and if there is any way out of the cycle!!

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03.08.2010, 17:01
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Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

No. You only have the permit because you are classed as a student. You need to be enrolled as such. Hence the fee. Without this you would need your role to be a proper job and would have to compete in the normal labour Market.
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Old 03.08.2010, 17:38
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

this story sounds weird. by definition, as a post-doc you are no longer a student. I have never experienced this nor any of my post-doc colleagues.

That said, switzerland has a way of classing post-doc's as being "in training" and institutes of the ETH are trying to extend post-doc maximum terms to 4 years This is so that they can keep you a classification below that of research scientist - which would require them providing you with longer term job security and a (slightly) higher salary. You may have thought that you are a scientist by the time you make Dr., but here this is not the case. (and it pisses me off)

exactly, which Uni do you work at?
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Old 04.08.2010, 00:01
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

We found this too. Its because its the universities do a deal with the cantonal authorities - if they have postdocs, they're given student permits - its just a bureaucratic thing to make the wheels turn faster, however, it also means you have to pay your 'student' fees.

:-)

(BTW, my wife is in the same situation, this is how i know. At my work, my HR asks if my wife is still a student.... a bit degrading for a postdoc
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Old 04.08.2010, 00:26
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

Don't know about Switzerland but in most US universities, an international post-doc has non-FTE position and classified as "trainee".
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Old 04.08.2010, 06:38
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

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We found this too. Its because its the universities do a deal with the cantonal authorities - if they have postdocs, they're given student permits - its just a bureaucratic thing to make the wheels turn faster, however, it also means you have to pay your 'student' fees.
No deal is done with the authorities. The universities simply enrol people as students and as such they get an easier route to a permit. These are the rules and nothing special is done for universities .
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Old 04.08.2010, 06:39
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

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Don't know about Switzerland but in most US universities, an international post-doc has non-FTE position and classified as "trainee".
In Switzerland it is up to the employer to classify the person via the employment contract. A normal contract = a normal position and a normal route to a work permit.
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Old 04.08.2010, 07:06
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

B-permit is renewed annually. There is no such thing as a 3 year B-permit, regardless of the length of contract.
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Old 04.08.2010, 08:40
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

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B-permit is renewed annually. There is no such thing as a 3 year B-permit, regardless of the length of contract.

I was given a 3 year B-permit this time (May 2013) so I do not think this information is quite accurate.

Gal x
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Old 04.08.2010, 08:44
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

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Hi Everyone,

OK, so after more than 1 year this problem is still bugging me and I hope some fellow EFers can shed some light:

I work as a postdoc at the cantonal university. I am non-EU.
Initially I was on a one year contract and was given a one-year B permit.
After this contract finished I was given a 3-year contract, which I have just signed and consequently received my new permit - which is still a B, and still only for 1 year. Whilst it is annoying to only have a 1 year permit, I understand this.

But there is one thing I don't understand:

Why am I still expected to pay for university inscription (student fees) every semester?? We are not talking a heap of money (CHF 115 per semester), but add that to the yearly cost of permit renewals and it gets annoying...particularly because no one can tell me why it is necessary!

I have asked other postdocs here, but they are all from the EU...and none of them are required to pay these fees.

I have asked the University who keep saying that it is because my permit is a student permit....so I ask the cantonal authorities why my permit is a student permit and they say it is because I am a student (and pay fees)...

So can anyone tell me is this is normal, and if there is any way out of the cycle!!

Thanks.
Do you do any courses at uni such as german?

IMO you should just feel lucky that you got an B-permit. Im postdoc at UZH and I have 2 consecutive L permits. I'd probably pay the 115CHF a semester for a B
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Old 04.08.2010, 08:52
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

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No deal is done with the authorities. The universities simply enrol people as students and as such they get an easier route to a permit. These are the rules and nothing special is done for universities .
I think it can be rather confusing since it seems everyone here is in a slightly different boat. All the postdocs I know (at the ETH, and I am one of them) are here on work, not student, contracts and I have never heard of having to pay this fee (I am non-EU). The permit question is separate though, as even some of our EU postdocs and PhD students have gotten saddled with L permits in spite of longer contracts. In our group at least it has become policy to only hire post-docs on at least 2-year contracts to up our chances of getting them a B-permit from the get-go. [but for the non-EU among us these have consistently been 1-year renewable B's]

Have you asked your supervisor if it would be possible to change your status to employee or are they not willing to go the tougher permit route? I would think w/ a PhD and the postdoc experience you already have it should not be so difficult to secure one...?
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Old 04.08.2010, 09:03
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

I often wonder if the Swiss authorities monitor this forum for a laugh, and think to themselves 'I wonder if these english speaking people have figured out this one yet?'
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Old 04.08.2010, 09:43
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

i'm sure the Stapo is watching our every move. Foreign post-docs are well known for bringing life into research groups and drinking every beer in sight.

Fun is not allowed!

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I often wonder if the Swiss authorities monitor this forum for a laugh, and think to themselves 'I wonder if these english speaking people have figured out this one yet?'
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Old 04.08.2010, 14:05
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

Wow! So many replies! You guys are great

I figured it was probably just a case of an easier route to permits. Just frustrating that none of my collegues have to pay.

Also frustrating that my position is paid by the Etat - so there I am getting my salary from the Etat then giving them back permit and student fees...the roundabout continues.

But given the horror stories I read on here, I guess I should count myself lucky that my initial permit and renewal have gone through without problem. If there's one thing Fribourg is great for it is quick turnaround of permit renewals!

Unfortunately the "student" permit has some disadvantages, especially in terms of rights to family reunification

Alas, I am forever destined to be a student and never find a "proper" job!

P.S. Are the ANY benefits of being a student here? When I started my boss told me it would be great because I could get all the special student prices.....but since I am on the dark side of 26, it seems this only means a couple of CHFs off at the movies!
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Old 04.08.2010, 14:19
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Re: Non-EU postdoc - does anyone else have to pay student fees?

Concert halls usually give special prices to students. And you get a discount at the uni cafeteria anywhere in Europe.
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