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Work and residence permit

Switzerland is one of the most competitive business locations in the world. As an internationally recognized location, Switzerland has a dual system for the admission of foreign workers. The canton of Lucerne has sufficient quotas for skilled workers from abroad.

EU/EFTA countries

Residence with gainful employment

All nationals from EU/EFTA states are entitled to pursue gainful employment and reside in Switzerland in accordance with the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the EU. For nationals from Croatia, admission restrictions will continue to apply until December 31, 2023. These include maximum numbers and labor market regulations (priority for domestic workers and control of wage and working conditions).

Residence without gainful employment

All nationals from EU/EFTA countries are entitled to an EU/EFTA residence permit if they can prove that they have sufficient financial means for subsistence and comprehensive health and accident insurance. No quotas apply. Taxation according to expenditure (flat-rate taxation) is possible.

Non-EU/EFTA countries

Residence with gainful employment

Only managers, specialists and qualified workers are admitted from non-EU/EFTA countries (third countries). They are subject to the quota system. Furthermore, the employer must prove by means of comprehensive search efforts that he could not find any recruitment-prioritized persons (nationals as well as persons from EU/EFTA countries). Wages and working conditions that are customary in the location and industry are a prerequisite.

Residence without gainful employment

Nationals from non-EU/EFTA countries may be granted a residence permit if they have reached the age of 55, have special personal ties to Switzerland and have the necessary financial means. They may not engage in gainful employment either in Switzerland or abroad – with the exception of managing their own assets. The former domicile in the home country must be abandoned (double domicile is not permitted under Swiss law). The center of vital interests must be moved to Switzerland, to the canton of Lucerne. Pensioners are subject to the ordinary provisions of the tax law (lump-sum taxation can be examined).

Process of the approval procedure

EU countries (as of 10/19):

Full free movement of persons (EU-27/EFTA):

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

Restricted free movement of persons (EU-1):

Croatia

Approval procedure for non-self-employed persons

EU/EFTA

Kanton Luzern
Amt für Migration
Fruttstrasse 15
CH-6002 Luzern
 

Non EU/EFTA

Kanton Luzern
Amt für Migration
Fruttstrasse 15
CH-6002 Luzern

If approved, approval procedure by:
Staatssekretariat für Migration
Quellenweg 6
CH-3003 Bern-Wabern

EU/EFTA

The full free movement of persons applies to nationals of EU/EFTA states. Until December 31, 2023, nationals from Croatia are subject to the quota system, the priority of nationals and the review of wage and working conditions.

Non EU/EFTA

Nationals from non-EU/EFTA countries are subject to quota system, priority of nationals and verification of wage and working conditions. Admission only possible for managers, specialists and other qualified workers. Overall economic interest must be present. 

EU/EFTA

With the complete free movement of persons, it is basically up to the foreign person (EU/EFTA) to take the necessary steps to obtain the corresponding residence permit. The residence regulation is based on the employment contract. Application documents for nationals from Croatia are submitted by the employer to the Cantonal Office for Migration. The Office for Migration Lucerne issues a work permit to the arriving person after reviewing the application. A change of job and/or canton no longer requires an application. The EU/EFTA national with his valid residence permit has the professional and geographical mobility. It is sufficient to register and deregister with the relevant residents’ registration office.

Non EU/EFTA

The employer submits the application documents to the Canton of Lucerne, Office for Migration, for review. If the application is approved, the Office for Migration submits the application to the State Secretariat for Migration for approval. The employee must await the application procedure abroad.

EU/EFTA

  • Completed form 1 (EU/EFTA)
  • Completed form 1a (EU-1)
  • Employment contract or employer confirmation
  • Job reporting requirement, if reportable
  • 1 passport photo
  • Copy of passport/ID
  • Tendering efforts (EU-1)
  • Tender RAV (EU-1)
  • CV incl. diplomas (EU-1)

Non EU/EFTA

  • Completed form 2
  • Letter of motivation with job description/duties of the position to be filled as well as information about the company
  • Employment contract (issued subject to the granting of the permit)
  • Curriculum vitae in tabular form with proof of qualifications (diplomas, job references, etc.)
  • Proof of unsuccessful recruitment efforts (RAV and EURES system, copies of advertisements, etc.)
  • Evidence of an apartment that meets the needs
  • Copy of passport
  • Criminal record extract
  • Justification by employer for the need of a foreign worker

EU/EFTA

The employee must register at the competent residents’ registration office no later than 14 days after entry. He will then be invited to a welcome interview at the Office for Migration of the canton of Lucerne.

Nicht EU/EFTA

The employee must register at the competent residents’ registration office no later than 14 days after entry. He will then be invited to the biometric data collection and welcome interview at the Office for Migration of the canton of Lucerne.

 

Approval procedure for self-employed persons

All countries

Canton of Lucerne, Office for Migration, Fruttstrasse 15, CH-6002 Lucerne. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, the approval procedure by the State Secretariat for Migration, Quellenweg 6, CH-3003 Bern-Wabern is required in case of approval.

All countries

For the settlement of self-employed persons or owners of companies, the preceding provisions apply mutatis mutandis. The same categories of ID cards apply.

All countries

The following documents must be sent to the Office for Migration of the Canton of Lucerne in order for the application to be considered.

  • Completed form 1 or 2
  • Detailed justification for the request
  • Curriculum vitae in tabular form
  • Information on financial circumstances
  • Business plan with details on: vision/strategy, products/services, potential customers, competition, production/suppliers/procurement, organization, number of employees (incl. recruitment), plan income statement for the first three years
  • Information on remuneration
  • Extract from the commercial register (can be submitted at a later date)
  • Copy passport
  • Power of attorney of the legal representative if he is in charge of the application procedure

All countries

Due to the complexity of the procedure, it is advisable to contact the team of Lucerne Business and possibly the Office for Migration of the canton of Lucerne for the careful preparation of the documents.