Immigration to Switzerland | All you need to know
Do you want to live in a country with beautiful and magical nature? Do you like rural life in the arms of the mountains?
So, perhaps Switzerland is the most suitable destination for you to immigrate to, with the majestic Alps that occupies a large part of it, and its beautiful, mild climate in summer, without forgetting the delicious types of delicious chocolate that you can eat at any time!
But how do you immigrate to Switzerland? What are the procedures for obtaining a visa to live and work there?
In today’s article, we will get to know all these details, so you just have to keep reading!
Immigration to Switzerland: Fast Facts
- Switzerland is a relatively small country with an area of 285 square kilometers bordered on all sides by land (Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein) with a population of approximately 8.42 million.
- Since the Alps occupy a large area of Switzerland, the majority of the population lives and settles in the Swiss Plateau (the flat area between the Alps and the Jura Mountains).
- Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world, with the sixth per capita GDP.
- Switzerland’s major cities such as Zurich and Geneva are among the top 10 cities in terms of standard of living.
- Switzerland is particularly famous for cheese and chocolate of all kinds.
- Manufacturing is one of the most important sources of income in Switzerland, as it is a major supplier of many technical instruments, medical and pharmaceutical goods in addition to making half the watches in the world. Who among us has not heard of the quality and heritage of Swiss watches!
- Although the proportion of the population born outside Switzerland is high (approximately 25%), immigration to Switzerland is not easy, especially for people from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area. However it is not impossible.
Read also: Study In Europe For Free
Useful and practical information about Switzerland
- Currency: Swiss franc (CHF).
- Spoken languages: There are four main languages spoken in Switzerland: French, German, Italian and Romansh. But the vast majority understand English as well.
- Main religions: Roman Catholic (approx. 38%), Swiss Reformed Christians (approx. 28%), and other Christians (approx. 6%). While 21% of the population does not belong to any religious denomination.
- Major cities: Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern, and Lausanne.
Pros and cons of immigrating to Switzerland
It is important that you review the advantages and disadvantages of immigrating to Switzerland before making your decision to take this step. Here is an explanation of some of them:
First: the advantages of immigrating to Switzerland
- Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world. The low crime rate and strict laws contribute greatly to maintaining a safe and stable life for the population.
- A country with a strong economy, with a very low unemployment rate (about 3.2% in 2013). Income is the second highest annual average wage in Europe (after Norway), with a value of about $67,200. In addition to the high purchasing power.
- One of the purest and cleanest countries, where the cleanliness of the main cities are taken care of and the air is often clean throughout the year.
- Financial security provided by a robust banking system, Switzerland’s political and military neutral stance made it an attractive option for wealthy people around the world.
- Swiss cuisine is a distinctive cuisine that draws inspiration from French, Italian and German cuisine. It is very diverse, as there are more than 450 types of cheese, more than 200 types of bread, in addition to many sweets, pastries and types of chocolate.
- Despite its high price, Swiss education is world-renowned (from kindergarten to higher education), as is the healthcare system (although it is not free either).
- The transport system is excellent and efficient, both within and between cities, the trains and buses are very accurate…accurate with Swiss timings, so you don’t have to wait long at the bus stop or at the train station.
- For those who love winter sports and mountain tours, Switzerland is the perfect choice, where you can practice snowboarding, snowboarding and mountain climbing as it is one of the most popular sports.
- When it comes to business and bureaucratic procedures, the Swiss do not waste their time, as they are professional, quick in carrying out and completing these tasks as well as punctuality.
Second: the negatives of immigration to Switzerland
- Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries to live in. The rent for a one-room apartment in downtown Zurich ranges from $1800 to $2300 per month. Consumer prices are also generally higher and more expensive.
- The Swiss are known to be very serious, and they have strict rules for every aspect of life including what you can do inside your home! (Example: There are laws that prohibit holding parties after certain times at night).
- Being a foreigner in Switzerland is not easy, even immigrants with Swiss citizenship are often called “ausländer” which means alien or alien!! Which means there is annoyance or (hidden) racism towards foreigners in Switzerland.
- You will inevitably face the language barrier that will stand between you and integration into Swiss society, as you have to master Swiss German as well as Swiss French in order to truly immerse yourself in the heart of culture and society.
- Obtaining Swiss residency or citizenship is not easy, even for highly skilled people. Some may live in Switzerland for decades without obtaining Swiss citizenship or permanent residence there.
- Despite the low unemployment rate, finding a job in Switzerland is very difficult for foreigners, and the only opportunities available are in international companies in Zurich, Geneva and Bern.
- Since the Swiss are closed off, it will be difficult to find new friends or build relationships with the people there, and immigrants are often forced to integrate and form relationships with other foreign communities in the country rather than mingle with the Swiss.
Immigration to Switzerland: visas and job search
Work permits in Switzerland are granted by the canton, and your eligibility to work in Switzerland is highly dependent on your nationality and job skills. And with an annual quota for permits granted, the competition is very strong.
Work permits for Europeans
If you hold the citizenship of an EU country, you can enter Switzerland and look for work for a period of 3 months (extendable up to 6 months if you provide proof that you are actively looking for work).
The short-term work permit L permit is issued to those who wish to work in Switzerland for less than 12 months, after 3 months of their presence in Switzerland.
Those who wish to work for less than three months do not need a work permit.
Work permits for other nationalities
Obtaining work permits for holders of other nationalities (other than Europeans) is more difficult. The Swiss boss must first prove that he cannot find a suitable person for the job from within Switzerland, and that he has made a real effort to do so before resorting to hiring someone from abroad.
Preference is given to highly skilled, specialist and senior positions (eg directors and CEOs) with higher degrees (Masters and Ph.D.) and those with significant professional experience. Priority is also given to those who are fluent in one of Switzerland’s official languages.
Those who exceed all these requirements will receive a short-term (L) residence permit valid for one year (with the possibility of extension for another two years) and must be linked to the employment contract.
Foreign students and workers wishing to undertake vocational training in Switzerland also obtain a short-term residence permit.
Permanent residence and Swiss citizenship
Obtaining a residence permit in Switzerland is a challenge in itself, and the procedures differ according to the nationality of the applicant (whether he is from the European Union or outside).
For those wishing to immigrate to Switzerland from outside the European Union, the number of residence permits granted annually is determined by the specialized authorities.
Type B residence permits are granted for a period of one year, renewable for another year each time. It should be noted that the residence permit B is linked to the canton (administrative division) in which it was issued. In other words, the holder of this residence permit cannot move to another county or change his job.
As for permanent residence (which is a type C permit), it is granted after the applicant has spent 10 continuous years in Switzerland (the period is reduced to five years for applicants from Canada or the USA). In all cases, no canton can issue a residence permit without obtaining approval from the Swiss Federal Confederation.
As for obtaining Swiss citizenship, it is more difficult and complicated, but the two most common methods are by birth (if one or both parents hold Swiss citizenship) or by naturalization:
1- A permanent resident can apply for Swiss citizenship after 12 years of presence in Switzerland. He must also prove his proficiency in German, French or Romansh (depending on which province he is applying to live in). And to provide evidence that he has successfully integrated into Swiss society and does not pose a threat to the state, in addition to his commitment to laws, customs and traditions.
2- Those wishing to obtain Swiss citizenship can also apply if they marry a person with this nationality, after at least three years of marriage. In the case of living abroad, the marriage must have taken place at least six years ago.
Investing in Switzerland
Citizens of the European Union or the European Economic Area can apply for a residence permit that allows them to live as a self-employed person in Switzerland for a maximum of five years (and this permission can be withdrawn if the individual becomes unable to cover their personal expenses).
In this case, the applicant must register a company name in Switzerland and provide proof of a stable source of income. However, non-EU citizens cannot apply for this permission.
In the event that you want to invest and establish a specific project, it is easy, and anyone can start a business in Switzerland where profits are not required to be reported, but in order to run your business from within Switzerland, you will need to obtain a residence permit and a work permit. However, you can establish a partnership or private company from outside Switzerland by registering it through the relevant online portal.
Switzerland may not be one of the easiest destinations for people from the Arab world to immigrate to due to its specific complex conditions, but it nevertheless remains a distinct tourist destination that must be added to the list of countries you wish to visit.
You can also apply to immigrate to Germany or France, to become close to Switzerland and have the opportunity to spend holidays in it and enjoy its charming scenery and stunning nature.
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