Relocating your employees to Switzerland

Switzerland may only be a small country in size, but it is a very interesting country to station your company or employees. Among the 8 million inhabitants, no less than 25% have a different origin. This is due to its central location in Europe and the location of many international institutions. In this article we will tell you the most important aspects that you should take into account when relocating employees to Switzerland.

Immigration requirements

Visa and permit when working in Switzerland

If you relocate an employee to Switzerland for more than three months to work there, the employee will need a permit. Switzerland uses different types of permits, each with their own rules and details.

  • Short stay permit: Permit L, this permit offers authorization for a limited period of time (most likely less than 1 year).
  • Residence permit: Permit B, also includes a work permit. This permit is valid for 5 years and is issued if your employee will be working there for more than 12 months.
  • Settlement permit: Permit C, for an indefinite period of time. Can only be issued if the employee has had an uninterrupted stay in Switzerland of at least 5 years.
  • Cross-border commuter permit: Permit G, this permit is issued in case your employee wants to work in Switzerland, but resides in a neighboring country. Can only be issued if the employee returns to their foreign place of residency at least once a week.

A residence permit is not needed if the employee is an EU/EFTA member state citizen, and they will be employed for less than 3 months. However, employers must register their paid employment through a short-term work notification procedure.

Non-EU/EFTA member state citizens always require a work permit, even for short-term employment. The requirements to meet a work permit are very strict and only a limited number of permits is issued. Make sure you start the application process in a timely manner and request the documents on time. It can take up to a few weeks before all documentation is completed.

Work permit for spouses

Does your employee have a family or spouse, and do they want to relocate to Switzerland together? If the spouse is an EU/EFTA citizen or legally married to one, they are free to work in Switzerland and they don’t need a working permit.

However, spouses (legally married) of third-country citizens (and not being an EU/EFTA citizen themselves) can work and stay in Switzerland as long as their partner works in Switzerland.

Relocation management Switzerland

Working conditions

In Switzerland, the maximum weekly working hours are 45, and they typically fall between Monday and Friday. All workers are entitled to at least four weeks of paid time off, with one week added for those under the age of 20. Depending on the region of the country you work in, there are many public holidays.


The average median annual salary in Switzerland is around €60,000. After the US and Luxembourg, Switzerland has the third-highest salaries among the OECD nations. Swiss businesses are required by law to pay international employees the same wages as their local co-workers. Just like in most other nations, salaries tend to be higher in the bigger cities, particularly in Zurich and Geneva where numerous finance corporations are based.

Maternity leave

Women are entitled to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave, which is far shorter than the policy of many other European nations (at a maximum of CHF 196 per day or 80% of their wage). Switzerland is the only nation in Europe without legislative paternity leave, fathers are not entitled to any paternity leave at all, except for a single “family day.”

Cost of living in Switzerland

Although Switzerland has high wages, the cost of living is also very high. Particularly when you want to relocate your employee to one of the bigger cities, like Zurich or Geneva. Finding affordable housing can be quite challenging. When renting an apartment, a deposit of 3 months in advance can be normal. Switzerland has a high-quality healthcare system, but that also comes at a high price. The average health insurance costs about €300 per month.

Relocating employees to Switzerland

Costs of relocating employees to Switzerland

When your employees are moving to Switzerland, there are many things that need to be arranged and the costs can be high.

Moving the household goods

With a longer period of accommodation, it is not surprising that an employee wants to move his own household effects and valuables. Depending on the type of furniture and the quantity, the transport costs can vary from €1000 to €7,500. Some of the things you should take in account:

  • The type of move modality that is being used (for international moves a sea or air shipment is needed, whereas a sea shipment is much cheaper than air shipment)
  • The total volume that needs to be transported
  • The distance between the origin and destination
  • The destination port (customs duties will vary)
  • Time of the year (peak-season vs. low-season)


If you want to support an employee during the relocation process, you can also hire packers so that the employee does not have to pack everything himself. The costs of this differ per company but are on average between €150 and €500.


Employee’s personal belongings must be moved in a safe manner. To provide extra security to the employee, it is advisable to take out insurance. Prices for insurance can differ between 0,6% and 4% of the total value of the goods. An average three-bedroom house or apartment has a value of €50.000, which means the insurance costs are somewhere between €300 and €2000.

Flight tickets

In the case of an international relocation, the employee and his family must also arrive at the destination themselves. This often happens by air travel or, if the employee comes from a neighboring country, by car. For the flight, airline tickets must be purchased, which are best purchased far in advance to save costs.

Relocation management for your company

As you can see, there are several factors to take into account when relocating a worker abroad. You want everything to be handled appropriately, especially when it comes to rules and regulations that must be followed. An expert mover can assist you with this. Our professionals at Voerman have years of expertise transporting expats to several locations throughout the world. With our move management and relocation management services, we are delighted to help you.

Read more about our relocation management services or request a quote.

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