Students & Interns
Students from third countries may pursue a part-time job in exceptional cases only. Admission to internships is possible in some cases, as is facilitated access to the labour market upon completion of studies in Switzerland.
Table of contents
Part-time job during studies
Third-country nationals pursuing education or continued education at a university or university of applied sciences in Switzerland may only be granted permission to take up a part-time job at the earliest six months after starting their educational course, provided
- the university/school management confirms in writing that the part-time job in question is responsibly doable within the framework of the student’s studies,
- the part-time job does not delay the completion of studies and
- the weekly working time outside of the semester break does not exceed fifteen hours.
The permit is to be applied for by the employer.
Admission to an internship in Switzerland is possible for third-country nationals in certain cases only.
Internship whilst studying abroad
Foreign students studying at a university or university of applied sciences abroad who require a mandatory internship may complete that internship in Switzerland. The stay for that purpose may be for a total of twelve months only, and once only.
Permits shall only be granted to companies whose number of short-term employed foreign nationals does not exceed a quarter of the total workforce in the respective company.
Applications are, in principle, to be submitted by internship placement organisations as for example IAESTE or AIESEC and may only be approved if
- the salary and working conditions customary for the location, profession and sector are satisfied and
- a letter is presented from the university abroad confirming that the intern is matriculated and that the internship is compulsory.
Internship whilst studying in Switzerland
Foreign students matriculated at a Swiss university or university of applied sciences who need to complete a compulsory internship, or who wish to write their diploma thesis with a Swiss company, may be granted approval to do so upon request if
- the gainful work is not in excess of half of the total duration of studies,
- the salary and working conditions are met and
Internship before commencement of studies
Foreign nationals who need to complete an in-company internship before taking up studies at a Swiss university or university of applied sciences must, in principle, do so abroad.
Internship after completion of studies
Stays for further education upon the successful completion of studies are possible as a traineeship or an internship within an international corporation.
Traineeships enable foreign vocational or university graduates from countries with which Switzerland has concluded agreements to further expand their professional and language skills for up to maximum eighteen months in Switzerland. The competent authority for granting the required permits–also upon request–is the State Secretariat for Migration SEM.
In-company internships last a maximum of eighteen months and take place with a view to subsequent employment within the respective corporation abroad. Furthermore, when starting the internship, an employment
Admission on completion of studies in Switzerland
Third-country nationals holding a degree from a Swiss university may, under certain conditions, be admitted to pursue gainful employment in Switzerland.
Not every study course completed in Switzerland automatically entitles graduates to pursue gainful employment in Switzerland. The only areas that shall be considered are sectors that do not yet have a sufficient supply of workers.
Permission for gainful employment may be granted if
- the work involved is of high academic interest, e.g., in research and development or in the application of new technologies, or
- the work involved is of high economic interest, e.g., it contributes to the creation of new jobs or it generates new orders and contracts for the Swiss economy.
The necessary permit is to be applied for by the employer. Precedence of domestic employees will not be checked. Other than that, the rules for third-country nationals apply.
Job search after completion of studies
Upon successful completion of studies at a Swiss university, third-country nationals may apply for a short-term residence permit with the aim of looking for a job. Said permit will be granted for six months if
- sufficient financial means are available,
- appropriate accommodation is assured and
- the final diploma is presented or there is written confirmation that studies were completed successfully.
Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich
Phone: +41 43 259 88 00
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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