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Working in Switzerland, what do you need to know?


Working abroad is interesting and enriching. Especially in the fresh Swiss mountain air. But how do you handle that properly? TCP Solutions helps you on your way swiftly. These are the most important things to know before you start working in Switzerland.

Swiss residence permit
There are several different types of residence permits in Switzerland. There are the L, B and C permit. The L permit is for short employment agreements of less than a year. The B permit is for people with a contract longer than a year. This is the minimum permit required to live in Switzerland. The C permit is a permanent residence permit, for which you usually don’t qualify until after you’ve worked and lived in Switzerland for five years.

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Taxes in Switzerland
Taxes in Switzerland are on average higher than in the rest of Europe. Income tax is levied on a national, cantonal and municipal level. The amount of tax you pay, therefore, depends on where in Switzerland you live. If, for example, you live and work in Zürich, you pay taxes to the Zürich canton. If you work in Zürich but live in Basel, you pay taxes to the Basel canton. Your living situation also affects the amount of tax you pay. Singles, married couples, double earners and families with children all pay a different tax rate.

Health insurance in Switzerland
Health insurance is required by law in Switzerland. You must arrange this within three months after your arrival in Switzerland. If you’re going to work less than three months in Switzerland, you must demonstrate that you have health insurance in your home country. You’re responsible yourself for taking out health insurance in Switzerland. Employers often don’t do this for you. Basic health insurance is provided by many different insurance companies – you’re free to choose. The basic insurance is identical at every insurance company, but the extra premiums and add-ons can vary considerably.

Living in Switzerland
Finding an apartment in Switzerland can be tough, but make sure you take ample time for this. There are many different types of housing with pros and cons. The best, of course, is if you can move into an apartment the moment you board the plane. If that’s not possible, you can stay at one of the many hotels or a bed and breakfast. Many have special offers for guests staying longer periods of time.
It can be worthwhile to join the local tenants association (Mieterverband / association des locataires). They offer quick advice and professional help to their members where renting is concerned. You can have them check out contracts, to see if they’re trustworthy. In case of a conflict between the tenant and landlord, a tenants association can represent you.

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Culture and language in Switzerland
Switzerland has three official languages: French, German and Italian. Many Swiss can speak these languages, but the language spoken most differs per canton. Inquire about this beforehand, lest you start the wrong language course (although it’s very worthwhile to speak all three languages).
Switzerland is a federal state. This means that the various country parts have a large degree of autonomy. This leads to odd differences sometimes. For example, New Year’s Day is a statutory holiday in every canton, except in Obwald. Likewise, Good Friday is not a holiday in Ticino and Wallis.
The various cantons also have their own stereotypes. The German-speaking cantons are often seen as stricter and less friendly. The French-speaking cantons as less busy and more interested in parties than working.

Self-employed in Switzerland
It’s not always made easy for self-employed entrepreneurs to get started in Switzerland. To comply with all the rules, you must virtually set up a Swiss limited company. As a knowledge migrant, it’s nearly impossible to get into Switzerland. The process for this is very lengthy, which makes it almost impossible. What does work well, is working with a payroll construction. TCP Solutions often operates that way when deploying flexible workers at companies in Switzerland.

Certainty with TCP Solutions
With all the above differences in mind, figuring out all the rules regarding work can be a considerable task.
TCP Solutions has solutions for that. With payrolling, contract management and our legal service, for example, we ensure your compliance with all specific national and cantonal laws and regulations. This is very important, because many people working abroad aren’t aware of the fact that their employment affairs are poorly arranged. This is almost impossible, because of the many different rules to comply with. However: if you don’t comply, both you and your employer can get a hefty fine. TCP Solutions fully knows the way in 12 countries and ensures you comply with all rules. We even guarantee that we will pay the fine should something not be in order. This way, we relieve you of a major concern.

Whether you’re self-employed or just want to work for a company, TCP Solutions can help you. Not only in Switzerland, but in all other countries as well. We are an international HR specialist. Do you wish to learn more? Please contact us. Call us on +44(0) 208 5800 800 or send us a message through our contact page or the quick contact button on the right-side.