A recent survey by the KOF Swiss Economic Institute in Zurich found that there are now 128’000 open positions in Switzerland. But skilled international contractors attracted by the pay rates in Switzerland, should be aware of the requirements to register themselves for work and find accommodation. This can save a lot of time and problems later.
Contractors moving to Switzerland, will first need to register with the social security office in the town they want to live in. And these will want to see a registered residential address first before accepting an application for a permit. Given that the rental property landlord will also want to see a valid permit from the prospective renter – this can lead to a frustrating “catch 22”.
In this post, we look at the process for contractors when coming to Switzerland to work.
- The first step is to find an area that you would like to live in. This should be within easy traveling distance of where the work is located and, in a town, or area that has the facilities required and is appealing to the worker.
- When renting an apartment, most landlords are looking for stability and longevity, so it is a good idea to ensure that the area selected is one where you will feel at home. Looking to move again after a couple of months is not a good idea in Switzerland and there are rules and regulations when moving “out of schedule” as stipulated in the rental contract.
- Our experience shows that using a booking platform such as Airbnb can be a good idea at the outset. Finding temporary accommodation for a few weeks before registering at the local social security office is a good way of establishing a base in the town where you want to live and supports the intention to stay longer and work.
- With a valid permit in hand as an important part of the personal documents, as the contractor you can then being to search and apply for a rental property.
Every town generally has local realtor companies advertising rental properties and looking for this type of company is also an alternative. In all cases, a rental application is generally the preferred route for the landlord or rental company in Switzerland.
- The property management company will want to know your financial situation and financial resources to see that that will be enough to cover the rent. This is the normal in Switzerland. Having a valid permit to live and work in Switzerland is obviously key.
- The rental application will include various documents which may vary from each property management company or landlord. When you have located a rental property that they like, they will need to ask what documents are required.
- There will always be an application form – which is generally found on the property management company’s website.
- Identification – for non Swiss nationals this will be a copy of your permit (B,C,G or L) and your residence permit.
- An extract from the local debt collection register where currently living (temporary accommodation). This should be requested from the local debt register when you register at the local security office and should not be more than six months old.
- A work contract and / or pay slips for last 3 months.
- A rental guarantee certificate. This is for a deposit or rental guarantee and many people in Switzerland work with organisations such as www.swisscaution.ch . This document is not always requested by property management companies, but it is a good idea to include as the Landlord will generally want to see this.
- If you are planning on sharing an apartment or property with someone else, they will also need to provide all the above details too.
Finding a job in Switzerland is the first step when moving to Switzerland. Deciding on which area to live in and successfully registering there for a permit comes second. Once “established” in an area and town, searching for, and successfully finding permanent accommodation is the final step in the puzzle of moving to Switzerland to live and work.
Switzerland “ticks differently” to many other countries in many respects and being punctual and having all documentation ready and up-to-date is the norm and expected. Many apartments and houses will have long lines of prospective renters queuing up to view. By having the right paper work ready and available to hand over to the property management company or landlord, will not guarantee the contractor will get the apartment of their choice first time, but it will definitely help!
Swiss standard rental agreements are usually characterised by:
- Maybe for furnished or unfurnished letting
- Usually have a minimum term
- Normally quote the basic rent plus variable “additional costs” which cover heating and maybe building management services
- Have fixed termination (moving out) dates usually quarterly, often with 6 month notice periods (which should be served by recorded delivery mail).
- Must adhere to strict rental price controls once the contract is signed (rent can rise and fall only with a change in national mortgage base rates).
Accurity GmbH is a SECO licensed provider of employment services. Established over 20 years ago, we work directly with recruitment agencies, client companies and contractors – in IT, as well as other sectors such as Banking + Finance, Pharma and Biotech. If you have questions regarding Contracting in Switzerland, please feel free to contact our team of experts. We are here to make Switzerland easy for you!