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Switzerland: Work Permit Requirements for Highly Skilled Third-Country Nationals 

Key Points  

  • Switzerland relaxed several requirements related to the application process for work permits issued to nationals from countries located outside of the European Union  


The government of Switzerland updated its work permit requirements for highly skilled foreign nationals from countries outside of the European Union (EU) (third-country nationals). The following changes will be implemented: 

  • A labor market test will no longer be required for employers hiring skilled third-country nationals in an occupation listed on the skills shortage list.  
  • The cantonal authorities are permitted to require a labor market test at their own discretion; however, certain specific search conditions may be removed.  
  • A work permit may be granted to a highly skilled third-country national hired to an occupation on the skills shortage list without holding specific university degree requirements. However, the applicant must hold at least a vocational training qualification or at least five years of related work experience.  

Potential occupations in which this will apply include the following: 

  • Managers and executive positions in information and communication technology, management consulting, finance and insurance, mechanical, electrical, metal industries, pharmaceuticals and food production.  
  • Engineering occupations, scientists and researchers in mathematics, scientific and technical fields and specialized information and communications technology professionals. 
  • Health care professions: medical specialists, medical residents, specialized nursing personnel (e.g., surgical nursing, acute and emergency care), and radiology assistants. 
  • Teachers at university. 

What are the Changes? 

The government of Switzerland updated several requirements for work permits issued to third-country nationals. According to the government announcement, these measures have been taken to relieve labor market shortages in the country.  

Looking Ahead  

Continue to check the government of Switzerland's website and Envoy’s website for the latest updates and information.  

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.