Live and work in Switzerland

Zurich-switzerland

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German speaking Collections Specialist – Berlin
Germany

Join our team in Berlin! We're seeking Collections Specialists with experience in customer service and debt management. Fluent in German and English. Full-time, hybrid working model. Competitive benefits. Send CV and cover letter in English.

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Danish Customer Support for Big Computer Brand – Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Join our support team as a customer service specialist in Amsterdam for one of the world's largest online travel providers. Full training and career growth opportunities provided, with a gross monthly salary of €2,149 and the option to work from home in Holland. Responsibilities include handling user inquiries and acting as a liaison with accommodation providers and customers.

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Swedish Team Leader – Amsterdam
The Netherlands

We are an international service company seeking a Team Leader in Amsterdam. Responsibilities include overseeing a team, monitoring performance, providing coaching, and driving exceptional customer service. Fluent in Swedish and English required. Work-from-home option available.

Currency

The Swiss Franc (CHF) is the official currency in Switzerland

Famous people

Some famous Swiss people are Roger Federer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Ursula Andress

Population

Switzerland has ~8.7 million residents, many living in Zurich

Typical food

Émincé de Veau à la Zurichoise (veal, mushrooms, cream sauce), Swiss Fondue (melted cheese), Pâté Vaudois (meat based snack), Röstis (butter baked potatoes)

Avg. working week

Switzerland has an average of 34.6 hours per week

Location

Switzerland is in central Europe and borders France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Liechtenstein. The capital city is Bern

Languages

The official languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh

Healthcare

Swiss healthcare is ranked high on a global scale. Everyone has access to essential healthcare

What you need to know about living in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for being a dreamy destination with Alps in the south and southeast. And of course they are also famous for their high quality of life, chocolate, cheese, and watches. So it’s no wonder that so many people are attracted, and not just to go on a visit but also to actually live in Switzerland. But why does everyone consider Switzerland such a great destination? Keep reading and we will dive into it.

Work Permits for EU/EFTA nationals in Switzerland

EU and EFTA nationals, i.e including Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, can stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days, due to the Agreement on the Free Movement of People. However if you’re planning to work and live in Switzerland, you need to ask your employer to register your employment either through the government’s online portal or with the local canton authorities (since each canton, or district, has their own regulations). In order to get a work permit and be able to stay longer, this has to be done before starting your job.

Quick note: After BREXIT, residents from the UK are not included in this agreement.

Work in Switzerland

Switzerland is a popular destination for job seekers because of high salaries and high quality of life with work benefits such as social security, healthcare and insurances, annual leave, maternity/paternity leave, and pensions. This makes the job market a little difficult because the employer must prove why hiring a foreigner instead of a local is beneficial – you can read more about this HERE. However, it’s still a very dynamic market and one of the most prominent economic sectors is the tourism sector, which is constantly hiring locals and foreigners.

Also, if you’re specialised in any field, it’s ‘easier to land a job in Switzerland. If you’re from the banking sector you should look for work in Zurich, and if you’re in chemicals or pharmaceuticals the best city for you is Basel. We know that the biggest cities are more expensive, but this is also combined with higher salaries.

There are two sides of labour laws in Switzerland; one being what the law actually states, and the second being the common practices. According to law restrictions, the maximum hours a person can work weekly are 45 hours, but in practice there’s a tendency between 45 – 48 hours weekly. This doesn’t mean the employers are tyrants, actually on the contrary. In Switzerland you get paid 125% of your salary for extra hours plus other benefits. BUT make sure your contract says you may work extra hours, because the payment is entitled to appear in the contract in order to be effective.

Work in Zurich

Zurich is a perfect city if you desire to boost your career. It attracts professional workers in the financial sector, which makes up for one quarter of the jobs. This makes up for ⅓ of the wealth of the city. In Zurich you will find job opportunities in the IT, computing, and engineering sectors. It is worth highlighting that the salaries in Zurich as an expat are high. It is true that the cost of living is high as well, but we can assure you that if you manage your spending well, you’ll end up saving way more than in any other country with a lower cost of living.

Taxes in Switzerland

Taxes in Switzerland are divided into at least three levels. There are federal taxes, cantonal taxes, and communal taxes. Furthermore, if you have any religion you may have to also pay a church tax. However, the approximate sum of all these taxes is around 21% to 46% depending on your location, while the marginal wealth tax is about 0.15% to 1%. 

Once you’re registered in any job in Switzerland or you are getting paid from Swiss sources, even for the 90 days the EU agreement permits, you are eligible to pay taxes in Switzerland.

Popular cities in Switzerland

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Christian prinzinger

Christian

Life in Switzerland

With breathtaking landscapes, including majestic Alps, lakes, and picturesque villages, Switzerland has natural beauty that inspires and attracts people from near and far. The country is known for its high standard of living, efficient public services, and excellent education and healthcare systems. Swiss cities, like Zurich, Geneva, and Bern, are vibrant and multicultural, offering a mix of modernity and tradition.

 Furthermore, Switzerland’s strong economy provides diverse job opportunities, attracting professionals from all over the world

Basic facts about Switzerland

Switzerland is a charming mountainous country in central Europe with an area of 41,285 km² and a population of 8.7 million people. Switzerland is not a member of the EU,  and their currency is Swiss Franc (Chf, SFr, Fr) and 1 Chf = 0.96 EUR. Their capital city is Bern, but the most expensive city regarding costs of living, also in the entire Europe, is Zurich. Fortunately, it also has one of the highest average wages in Europe. They have four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. 

5 fun facts about Switzerland 

  1. The shape of the flag of Switzerland made it world famous, it’s a square! A white cross on the red background can be seen on official buildings or during national holidays and events. 
  2. Switzerland remained neutral during WWII, and they have in general remained famous for their neutrality. Switzerland is not a member of the European Union nor NATO nor European Economic Area. 
  3. Around 25% of residents in Switzerland are foreigners. So, they are are really open to expats.
  4. They have one of the most strict laws regarding pets ownership. Social animals such as guinea pigs can’t live alone on the charge of abuse. Fortunately, to avoid pet-buying circles, pet-renting services work well.
  5. Despite being neutral in so many ways, Switzerland is well prepared in case of war. One of their defence strategies is placing explosives in every main centre of the country. Switzerland is also well prepared in case of nuclear attack, as cities are equipped with nuclear bunkers by law.

Culture in Switzerland

Moving to Switzerland can result in a a real cultural shock. Switzerland is a multicultural environment speaking four languages, none of which is English, which might be overwhelming when you are not prepared for it. Of course, English is well known in their society, but it may get lost in diversity. Swiss people appreciate privacy a lot and they can come off rather closed off towards foreigners. But they are not hostile, it’s more an expression of their preference of guarding their privacy. So for making friends, give them a little more time. Some expats say that nationals will accept you entirely if you learn the language and adapt to some of their customs. 

Sunday is a day of relaxation, and some activities are even prohibited by law! You can’t mow your lawn then, unless you want to get into trouble. A good idea for the weekend is to travel around the country to see many breathtaking landscapes of the Alps or small lovely towns. The country is divided into 26 regions called cantons and in every single one, there is something worth seeing.

Typical food in Switzerland 

Some of the cultural gems of Switzerland are found in the gastronomy section and there are two things which most probably came to your mind while reading this sentence. The first one is of course chocolate, known as the best in the world. You have probably heard about Toblerone and Lindt, right? Making chocolate in Switzerland is frequently close to art. It’s a big part of their export. Equal in popularity to chocolate is cheese. The variety of choices and quality of each piece has made their cheese famous. 

The spices and seasoning used in Switzerland may be characterised differently depending on the region. Some common herbs are basil, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Garlic, which comes from their mountains, red onion and charlotte onion are also frequently used. Some of the most popular Swiss dishes are: 

  1. Émincé de Veau à la Zurichoise is a sliced veal with mushrooms cooked with a cream sauce and wine
  2. Swiss Fondue consists of one or two kinds of melted cheese mixed together with garlic and wine
  3. Pâté Vaudois (meat based crispy snack)
  4. Röstis is sliced potatoes baked with butter, which might be served with meat or eggs
  5. Malakoff de Vinzel, or le Luins, are simply balls of fried cheese

Famous desserts worth trying are definitely Leckerli, La Salée au Sucre or Le Gâteau Payernois. And when it comes to alcoholic drinks, their wine has to be mentioned. Especially the vineyard in Vaudois, which is even listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.

Finding accommodation in Switzerland

Finding accommodation in Switzerland can seem like a demanding task. However, remember that it’s not impossible to find accommodation on your own. Use online renting portals to see what prices are in which regions and how many offers are available. Don’t leave it for the last moment, and be prepared to look around for at least a month. You can also join Facebook groups about rentals in Switzerland, Zurich or Bern. To get accommodation you often have to show proof of employment. You can also ask for help from real estate agencies, but the fee for their services are usually high.

Apartments for rent are usually unfurnished, which often means even lack of light fitting and utilities are often paid separately. The deposit is equal to three months of rental. Sometimes you also need a Swiss guarantor to be accepted for accommodation, so after getting in touch with the landlord ask about all additional requirements. 

Cost of living in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for its high cost of living. It’s true that three of their major cities are ranking into the 10 most expensive cities in the world (Zurich, Bern and Geneva) but at the same time the salaries in Switzerland easily counterbalance this cost of living, having an average salary of around €6200. Below you can see examples of general expenses:

Description

Cost in Euros (€)

Accomodation*

1.400

Food**

100

Public transport

77.21

Tennis court rent (1 hour on weekends)

33.52

Mobile rate (1 min. Prepaid tariff)

0.21

Cappuccino

4.51

Cinema ticket

18.34

Pint of local beer

6.27

Total

1640

* Prices can vary depending on the neighbourhood, the number of people living in the apartment and facilities.

**Depends greatly on your diet and which shops you buy food and drinks from.

Expats in Switzerland

Many expats who already decided to move to Switzerland have felt a big attraction to the incredible quality of life. Around 25% of the dwellers are internationals so the expat community is dynamic, especially in the bigger cities. You can join social media groups where foreigners are sharing their best pieces of advice and experiences about living in Switzerland. Look for the groups with meetings and events too, and attend as much as you can. What makes you feel like home are people, so seek to meet  people in the new places

Making friends with locals is often challenging in the beginning as they can be quite reserved towards expats. But don’t let it make you feel bad, they like privacy but after some time they will open up their circle to you. You can start looking for friends among your colleagues, which is also an easy option because you meet them on a daily basis. So creating a bond shouldn’t be a problem. 

Where to Learn German in Switzerland?

Switzerland has four official languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Around 60% of the population speaks German and it will be easier for you to land a job in Switzerland if you speak German at a certain level. There are numerous apps dedicated to teaching Swiss German, so it would be great for you to start downloading one of those before getting into your Swiss journey. These apps are: Grüezi Switzerland, utalk Swiss German, Schweizerdeutsch Lernen and Dialäkt Äpp.

Pro tip: Try to learn Swiss-German, since it’s the variation of the language that is actually spoken in Switzerland.

Still not convinced about Switzerland?

The Swiss people value work-life balance, and outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, and biking are easily accessible. Safety, cleanliness, and efficient public transport are part of everyday life. The Swiss are known for their punctuality, precision, and hospitality.

The best way to make the most of living and working in Switzerland is to try to understand locals, respect their customs and learn the language of the region you live in. But even before, you will quickly realise why Switzerland is a well-known dream expat destination. There are plenty of benefits at work, magnificent nature, a constantly growing economy, and high salaries, which attracts people from afar. If you spend your money wisely you will meet no barrier to creating lifelong memories and at the same time developing your professional career.

 

FAQ

EU and EFTA nationals, i.e including Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, can stay in Switzerland freely up to 90 days, this is because of the Agreement on the Free Movement of People, however if you’re planning to work and live in Switzerland, you need to ask your employer to register your employment either through the government’s online portal or with the local canton authorities (since each canton, or district, has their own regulations) in order to get a work permit and be able to stay longer, this has to be done before starting your job.

You can read more by clicking here.

After BREXIT, residents from the UK are not included in this agreement.

Switzerland has four official languages; German, French, Italian and Romansh, but 60% of the population speaks German and it will be more useful to land a job in Switzerland if you manage to speak German at a certain level.

Tip: Try to learn Swiss-German, since it’s the variation of the language that it’s actually spoken in Switzerland.

There are numerous apps dedicated to teach Swiss German, so it would be great for you to start downloading one of those asap before getting into your swiss journey. These apps are: Grüezi Switzerland, utalk Swiss German, Schweizerdeutsch Lernen and Dialäkt Äpp.

Switzerland experiences a varied climate due to its diverse topography. In the lowlands, like Zurich and Geneva, summers average around 20-25°C, while winters see temperatures ranging from -2°C to 7°C. In the mountainous regions, such as the Alps, temperatures are cooler, with summers averaging 15-20°C and winters ranging from -5°C to 0°C. It’s essential to be prepared for temperature fluctuations, especially in mountainous areas, where weather conditions can change rapidly.

Getting around in Switzerland is a breeze due to its efficient and extensive transportation network. The country has a well-developed system of trains, trams, buses, and boats, making travel between cities and regions convenient and punctual. The Swiss Travel Pass offers unlimited access to public transportation and allows exploration of the picturesque landscapes with ease. Additionally, cycling and walking paths are abundant, encouraging eco-friendly commuting and leisurely exploration.

Healthcare in Switzerland is renowned for its high quality and accessibility. The country has a universal healthcare system, providing comprehensive medical services to all residents. Private and public health insurance options are available, ensuring that everyone has access to essential healthcare services. Switzerland’s healthcare system consistently ranks among the top in the world, offering advanced medical facilities and well-trained healthcare professionals.

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