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Navigating cross-border hiring in Switzerland

Navigating cross-border hiring in Switzerland can be complicated due to tight regulations and procedures and the fact that Switzerland is not a member of the EU and has its own distinct rules. Poor understanding and preparation for the local requirements can result in unwanted and costly mistakes. 

Here’s a brief checklist to help guide you on your way to successfully navigating this complex area:

To consider before hiring:

Understand Swiss employment regulations: Familiarise yourself with Swiss work permits, visa requirements, social security contributions, and tax implications for foreign employees.  

Hiring temporary or permanent workers in Switzerland entails stringent compliance requirements. Crucially, a foreign company in Switzerland cannot employ contractors through a management company based abroad and does not have all the necessary authorisations and licences. A foreign recruitment company can only supply staff to a Swiss client or bill the Swiss client directly with the required approvals. 

Access Financial’s superior services have won it a reputation as a trustworthy and reliable partner for businesses looking to expand to Switzerland and job seekers wanting to work there. Located in Nyon, in the canton of Vaud, we are registered with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the cantonal Employment Service to engage in labour leasing and payroll management activities within Switzerland. 

Job posting & recruitment: Tailor your job postings to comply with Swiss anti-discrimination laws and highlight the attractiveness of working in Switzerland. Consider partnering with local recruitment agencies familiar with the talent pool and regulations. 

Work permit application: Start the work permit application early, as processing times can vary. Collate all relevant documentation, including evidence of qualifications, employment contracts, and proof of financial stability. Consider the different types of work permits available (e.g., short-stay, long-stay, highly qualified) and choose the most suitable one based on the employee’s situation.

Relocation support: Offer assistance with relocation logistics, including finding housing, registering with local authorities, and opening bank accounts, and this can significantly improve the employee’s experience and ease their transition.

During the hiring process:

Employment contract: Ensure the contract complies with Swiss labour law, covering salary, collective labour agreements, working hours, annual leave entitlement, termination clauses, and social security contributions.

Onboarding: Develop a comprehensive onboarding process introducing employees to the company culture, work environment, and relevant regulations. Access Financial has successfully supported clients through this process for over 20 years, ensuring a smooth, efficient, pain-free onboarding process. 

After hiring:

Payroll and taxes: Ensure accurate payroll processing and tax compliance – according to individual circumstances, this may involve registering with the Swiss Social Security authorities and withholding taxes correctly. It is vital to ensure these processes are observed and carried out correctly per local requirements.

Local Compliance updates: Stay up-to-date on changes to Swiss employment regulations and visa requirements to ensure continued compliance. Engaging with a local provider, such as Access Financial, is advisable to keep abreast of the ever-changing regulatory framework and minimise your risk of non-compliance.

Additional tips:

Cultural awareness: Foster a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture that respects different cultural backgrounds and communication styles.

Language skills: Consider language proficiency when hiring, as English may only suffice for some roles and regions. The main official languages are French, Swiss German and Italian.

Network and seek guidance: Build connections with other companies that hire internationally and seek advice from professional organisations, such as Access Financial and government agencies specialising in cross-border employment.

Please remember that this is a general checklist, and specific details may vary depending on the employee’s nationality, job type, and other factors.

As a leading Swiss-based global labour leasing company, Access Financial oversees all the contracting formalities and legalities for corporations, recruitment agencies, and contractors. Our Swiss services benefit employers – by looking after local compliance – the recruitment agency by ensuring they have a satisfied client – and the contractor by maximising their earnings and providing a legally compliant payroll solution.  

Ready to experience frictionless cross-border hiring?

We’d like to invite you to a free consultation to discuss your specific needs and see how Access Financial can be your trusted partner.

Contact us today:


Email: [email protected]

Phone: +41 22 365 4620