Conditions of access to the labour market

Having a residence permit does not necessarily give the right to work in Switzerland. The conditions for access to the labour market vary according to the residence permit and the country of origin.
Any foreign person in possession of a residence permit issued within the framework of family reunification may carry out a gainful activity.

EU and EFTA citizens

Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) can in principle work as soon as they have announced their arrival to the Contrôle des Habitants office of their municipality of residence.

Specific conditions concerning asylum

For more specific conditions of access to the labour market such as certain permits linked to asylum, you will find the necessary information below.

F permit
Since 1 January 2019, persons holding an F permit can carry out a dependent or independent gainful activity and change employment and profession, provided that this activity has been announced to the authorities. The legislator has in fact considered that it was necessary to eliminate administrative obstacles to their access to the labour market and to replace the previous authorisation procedure with a simple announcement of their activity.
N permit, asylum application booklet
Any professional activity is subject to a request for authorisation. Taking up employment is only possible after a formal positive decision from the Service de l’emploi (SDE).
As soon as the person in the asylum procedure is allocated to a canton (and leaves the federal centre), the exercise of a gainful activity is possible under certain conditions. The usual remuneration and working conditions must be respected; the hiring of an asylum seeker must not contravene the priority given by the legislation to female workers and local workers (Swiss or foreigners living in Switzerland) and nationals of the European Union.
The cantons also reserve the right to limit the activity of asylum seekers to certain economic sectors.
The commitment can be concluded within the framework of a contract of indefinite duration. However, it is interrupted if the asylum application is rejected.
As soon as a negative decision on the asylum application enters into force (is enforceable), the person no longer has the legal possibility of undertaking or continuing a gainful activity. If they are employed, they must leave it at the end of the departure period set by the Confederation.

To find out the conditions of access to the labour market according to your residence permit, you can refer to the Employment Guide available on the internet link below.

Conditions of access to the labour market according to your residence permit

Additional information

Before starting work

There are several ways to obtain a job in Switzerland. Exercising a remunerated activity often requires prior procedures such as recognition of your training and professional experience acquired in your country of origin.

More information

I have a job

Professional activity is subject to rights and duties. The conditions of employment, tax obligations and collective labour agreements may seem complex at first glance. They are actually easier to understand than it seems and essential to know. Here you will find the details you are looking for.

More information

If I lose my job

Losing your job is a situation that you may have to face. Institutions, such as the Offices Régionaux de Placement (Regional Employment Offices - ORP), will help you, in particular to facilitate your reintegration into the world of work. If you plan to become self-employed, the Service de la Promotion de l’Economie et de l’Innovation (SPEI) will also be able to advice you.

More information

Do you have specific questions?

Your privileged contacts

The Fraternity of the Centre Social Protestant (CSP) and the Habitants Registration office of your municipality are at your disposal to help you with administrative procedures.

“Welcome” brochure

To facilitate the settling of the newcomers in the canton, the brochure “Welcome to the canton of Vaud” (available in 16 languages) contains the practical information you need.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Listed on one page, you can access the most frequently asked questions on various topics.

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Administration's website

It contains the useful information on integration and prevention of racism matters in the canton of Vaud. The site is dedicated to migrants, Swiss citizens as well as to professionals in these fields.

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