Friday, August 1, 2008

How we got a job in Switzerland

A lot of people have asked us how we got a job in Switzerland, and I think it's about time we told the truth.

This man came up to me in a casino back in Boston and said, "I will give you a million dollars and your husband a job in Switzerland if you sleep with me..." And I said ok, because hey, it's Switzerland.

Ok, maybe that was a movie, but I have to admit that in our regards to our situation is was just about that easy.... I have heard some horror stories on the forums and on blogs, but we we really lucky.

We had always wanted to live in Europe, so we kept our eyes open and as it would be the opportunity presented itself earlier than we expected. Jace found a job online and decided to throw his hat in the ring, and by that I mean he applied for the job, and after 6 months of interviews, visa applications, and contracts, we moved to Zurich. We were lucky in that his employer took care of a lot of the fussy details, making the move and paperwork pretty fuss free. But how I got a job is another story.

Being on an L permit, we technically are only allowed to stay in Switzerland for a year, the length of our Swiss permit. However, the permit can be renewed, so we should be able to stay as long as we want or as long as Jace is employed, because I am completely dependent on his visa in regards to staying and working in Switzerland.

This means that I, the spouse of an L permit and an L permit holder myself, don't automatically get a work permit. The lucky company that wants to employ me has to apply for the work permit through the Department of Labor and the Department of Immigration. I got a job offer early on in our stay, I think in the second week even, but they didn't think they could get the work permit, or didn't want to try, so they rescinded the offer. I think the employer has to show that they can't fill the job with any Swiss or Europeans and that the position is high enough (and pays well enough! - this was the issue with this employer, I don't think they wanted to pay up) to merit an international worker... regardless it worked out better for both of us!

In regards to the job I got, the employer applied for the permit and within 2 weeks we had received confirmation... but there was a 50/50 chance that I wouldn't get the work permit, they said. Nevertheless, it worked and within 9 months of Jace's application in Switzerland, we are both living and working in Zurich... alas the blog title is fully applicable!

What can you do? At the moment, there are a lot of jobs open in Switzerland as unemployment levels are low and opportunities abound, especially in white collar work... but you never know, for example in Australia they need hair dressers and nurses - it just depends on what they need at the moment (then again speaking German be required...).

When people ask us how they can get in a job in Switzerland, my first piece of advice is to start applying to jobs, as there is no way you can get a job if you don't apply and the market is good. And then, if the company is serious and has a strong enough need, they should be able to get a visa for you. Hey, it worked for us-we're living the dream. There is always the risk but you never will get here if you don't try.

Or you could always just run into a casino and try your luck with some Swiss big wig billionaire.

Oh, and dress like this, it can't hurt. ;)

Taken from a former post - Would I make a good blonde?


Jul said...

"there is no way you can get a job if you don't apply"

Exactly. I am so sick of hearing people whine about how they wish they could live abroad like we do, but just "can't". Um, well, you certainly can't if you don't try...

I've got a post about working in Europe in the queue, too, hoping it will encourage more folks to try!

Jessica said...

Exactly... we didn't know if we had the right skills or would get a visa or whatever... but we applied and we got the job. I should say that we applied for jobs in Germany the previous year and got close to two jobs (I actually flew over to Berlin for an interview once which was AWESOME) but they fell through. So we did put a lot of effort into the looking I suppose. And for the right opportunity and the right time it all fell into line.

So yeah, hard work and the effort to make it happen will pay off. Can't wait to see your post. Please come back and link to your post, Jul! ;)

Bluefish said...

Excellent advices. Thanks.


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