Global Employer Services Newsletter November 2020

Swiss work and residence permits news

What to consider when employing trainees and students with non-EU nationality

Swiss firms may employ students with non-EU nationality as interns or on a part-time basis in parallel to their studies in Switzerland. Learn more in the below chart about the specifications and requirements. 



Student (part-time)


A student at a Swiss university that needs to complete a compulsory internship as part of their studies.

Non-EU/EFTA citizens enrolled at a Swiss university and in possession of a valid residence permit who work part-time in parallel to their studies.



  • Integral part of the enrolled study.
  • Compliance with Swiss minimum salary and work conditions when in Switzerland.
  • One-time occurrence during a course of study.
  • Swiss employer needs to apply on behalf of the intern.
  • For students of a foreign university it is crucial that the application is submitted through an official student exchange office.
  • The secondary employment is not limited to certain industries.
  • Self-employment is not permitted.
  • The secondary employment can only start six months after beginning their studies in Switzerland.
  • Written confirmation from the Swiss university that the secondary employment does not delay the successful completion of the study.



  1. Max. 12 months.
  2. Contract cannot exceed the requested maximum duration of the university nor can it exceed more than half of the total duration of the study.


  1. During semesters a maximum work time of 15 hours per week.
  2. During semester breaks full-time work is possible.


New permit format for third country non-EU nationals

From September 2020 the current biometric residence permits for non-EU nationals will be replaced by the new European residence permit. All current permits will remain valid until their expiry date. The new biometric cards comply with strict security requirements and data is protected by a secure access process. It is not possible to electronically monitor the microchip.

Example of new Swiss permit card

COVID-19: quarantine measures when travelling from neighbouring countries 

In September the Swiss Federal Council confirmed the quarantine measures for persons entering Switzerland from neighbouring countries: only those regions of neighbouring countries, where the infection rate is over the limit, will be added to the list of countries and areas with an increased rate of infection, not the entire country. Currently this concerns several areas in France and the Federal State of Vienna. Further, the list of affected countries and regions has been updated.  

Stephanie Mueller