In recent decades Switzerland has established itself as a highly desirable place to live, work, and study due to its location in the heart of Europe, its thriving economy, rich and historical culture, wonderful towns and cities, and mountains and lakes. Salaries in Switzerland are amongst the highest in the world, with an average of around £50,000. Certain sectors pay much more, including finance and insurance with an average monthly wage of around £7,350 and in IT, which pays around £6900, per month. Within the EU and EFTA region, it is entirely possible and extremely desirable to live in one country and live in a neighbouring state. This allows cross-border workers to benefit from the job market in a nearby country while continuing to live in another. It is now estimated that 20% of all foreign employees in Switzerland are cross-border workers. In this article, we will explain the purpose of the Cross-Border Commuter Permit in Switzerland, the eligibility criteria, and how to apply.
Permit G (the Swiss Cross-Border Commuter Permit) enables nationals of countries bordering Switzerland to live in their home country and work in Switzerland. These are referred to as ‘cross border workers’. The Swiss Secretariat for Migration (SEM) states, “Cross-border commuters are foreign nationals who are resident in a foreign border zone and are gainfully employed within the neighbouring border zone of Switzerland. The term “border zone” describes the regions that have been fixed in cross-border commuter treaties concluded between Switzerland and its neighbouring countries”.
Under the rules, cross-border commuters are required to return to their place of residence outside of Switzerland at least once per week. As such, it is not required to return home each day.
It is possible for third-party nationals (i.e. non-EU/EFTA nationals) to acquire a cross-border permit if they have gained permanent residence in a neighbouring country to Switzerland. This residence must have been held for at least six months. For third-country nationals, G-permits are typically granted for 12 months and, according to SEM, are “limited to the border zone of the issuing canton”. It is also required that third-country nationals apply for a new permit if they change jobs in Switzerland.
For EU/EFTA nationals, cross-border commuter permits are valid for up to five years when the applicant has a fixed-term employment contract of more than one year or if they have a permanent employment contract. Where applicants have a fixed-term employment contract of less than a year, but for more than three months, G permits are granted for the length of the employment contract. No work permit is needed where the period of employment is less than 90 days.
Applicants for a Swiss Cross-Border Commuter Permit (Permit G) must:
Regarding Croatian nationals, SEM confirms, “Since 1 January 2017, the Agreement on the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the EU is applicable to nationals from Croatia. A cross-border commuter permit G EU/EFTA is issued to Croatian nationals provided they fulfil the specific transitory provisions (Border zones and restrictions concerning the access to the Swiss labour market)”.
Swiss Cross-Border Commuter Permits can be applied for and are issued in the canton in which you will be working (i.e. where your employer is based). We recommend checking the website for your intended canton; a full list of the cantonal immigration authorities can be found on the SEM website. In some cases, you will be able to apply online on the cantonal website.
There are several other considerations that you will need to bear in mind if you wish to become a cross-border worker in Switzerland, including:
Reiss Edwards have the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of Swiss immigration. If you need assistance with your Swiss Cross-Border Commuter Permit for Switzerland or any other immigration matter, contact our Switzerland Immigration Lawyers on 020 3744 2797 or by email at email@example.com
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