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31 May 2023 Change of job within Switzerland

A change of job brings a breath of fresh air into working life: New contacts and challenges beckon. According to a survey by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, more than one in ten people in Switzerland changed jobs in 2021. It is not surprising that their foreign work colleagues are also caught up in this dynamic influence.

If you are a foreign national working and living in Switzerland and would like to change jobs, you should inform yourself well in advance about the legal requirements for such a change. The decisive factors here are your nationality and the type of work and residence permit you have. You must ensure that you hold a valid residence or work permit at all times.

In this article, we will give you an overview of the requirements for changing jobs depending on your residence status. The rights and obligations of EU/EFTA citizens and third-country nationals may differ considerably (also) with regard to changing jobs. If this is the case, the requirements are explained separately below.

Short-term residents (L-permit)

EU/EFTA citizens

EU/EFTA short-stay permits (L-permit) enable employed persons to change their job or profession in Switzerland within the framework of paid employment without the need for a new permit. There is occupational and geographical mobility.

However, anyone who wishes to take up self-employment and was previously employed must report this change and apply for a new EU/EFTA permit. Formerly self-employed persons who are newly employed, on the other hand, do not have to present a new EU/EFTA residence permit when taking up the job and do not have to report this change.

Third-country nationals

A change of job is only possible for third-country nationals with an L-permit if there are important reasons. The change of job will only be approved if further employment with the previous employer is not possible or not reasonable. Furthermore, the change of job must not be based on the employee's behaviour. The new job must also be within the same industry and profession.

Residents (B-permit)

Persons with a Swiss work and residence permit (B-permit) can - just like short-term residents - pursue self-employment or employment. In contrast to short-term residents, foreign nationals in possession of a B-permit can take up a new salaried job without further ado. However, there is an exception for third-country nationals whose permit was issued expressly for a specific job (e.g. in the context of a project assignment) or is expressly linked to a condition or requirement under labour market law. In this case, permission for the change of job must be applied for at the competent cantonal authority.

Similarly, the switch from employment to self-employment is subject to a new permit for third-country nationals. This does not apply to EU-EFTA citizens with a B-permit (at the time of renewal of the permit, however, authorities may check whether the conditions for a permit based on self-employment are met).

The location of the new job is not restricted in principle; employment can be accepted throughout Switzerland, i.e. also in another canton. For third-country nationals, however, a change of canton is subject to authorisation.

Established persons (C-permit)

Those who have a settlement permit do not experience any restrictions when changing jobs. Both EU/EFTA nationals and third-country nationals can enter and move around in the Swiss labour market in the same way as Swiss nationals.

Cross-border commuter (G-permit) 

Both EU/EFTA nationals and third-country nationals can be granted cross-border commuter status.

EU/EFTA citizens

EU/EFTA nationals must report a change of job to the competent authority. The same applies in the event of a change of employer's registered office or a change of address abroad.

Third-country nationals

In contrast, third-country nationals must apply for a new permit when changing jobs.

AHV and pension fund

A change of job also affects your AHV and especially your pension fund. The latter should be considered when changing jobs and the pension fund conditions should be compared.

Once the decision has been made to change jobs, the AHV insurance number must be provided to the new employer to ensure that it can correctly deduct social security contributions from the salary from the beginning. Those who have already saved capital with a pension fund should also contact the pension fund of their last employer. In the event of a change of job, the previous pension fund will transfer the savings balance to the pension fund of the new employer - but only if instructed to do so.


A change of job should always be well through. This is not only from the perspective of labour and social security law, but also, in the case of foreign workers, from the perspective of immigration law.

While EU/EFTA nationals can in principle change employment without any problems, third-country nationals with an L- or G-permit must always obtain a new permit. Whether this is also the case if the third-country national in question holds a B-permit must be clarified in each individual case.

However, a change from employment to self-employment is associated with certain hurdles for all foreign nationals.

If a change of job requires a new authorisation (or at least a notification), the necessary steps should be taken well in time.

Are you planning a job change and would like support? Our Immigration Team will be happy to assist you. We look forward to hearing from you.

Authors: Urs Haegi, Jeannine Dehmelt, Alisa Nava Winter