Asylum seekers (N permit)
Asylum seekers (N permit) are people who have applied for asylum in Switzerland and whose application is being processed.
During their stay in the FACs, asylum seekers are not allowed to engage in gainful employment. After this period, asylum seekers may be permitted to work temporarily under the following conditions:
- an employer must apply for permission,
- the economic and employment situation allow it,
- the conditions regarding salary, working conditions and precedence are met, and
- the person concerned is not subject to a final expulsion ruling.
An asylum seeker does not have a legal right to employment.
The application for a work permit must be submitted by the employer to the competent cantonal migration or employment office where the job is based. Further information on the cantonal migration and employment offices is available here:
Cantonal immigration and employment authorities
Asylum seekers (N permit) require authorisation not only to take up employment, but also to change jobs or professions.
Recognised refugees (B permit), temporarily admitted refugees (F permit), other temporarily admitted persons (F permit) and stateless persons (B or F permit)
All the above are permitted to work (employed or self-employed) anywhere in Switzerland provided the competent authorities are notified in advance, and if the salary and employment conditions customary for the location, profession and sector are fulfilled.
If the activity is part of an employment programme, it is not subject to mandatory notification.
If the person is employed, then the employer must notify the authorities. If the person is self-employed, they must notify the authorities themselves. If the job is part of an integration programme under a cantonal integration programme (CIP) or for which there is an agreement with the competent cantonal authority, the organisation running the programme (e.g. aid organisation, communal or cantonal service, or a mandated institution) may notify the authorities about the job).
The competent cantonal authorities in the canton where the person is working must be notified when a person starts or leaves a job. The notification of employment can be made via the EasyGov.swiss online counter This makes processing simple, fast and efficient. EasyGov is a secure and reliable platform for handling administrative procedures for companies.
If you are unable to access the EasyGov platform, you can notify the authorities using a special form (available in German, French and Italian).
Formular zur Meldung einer Erwerbstätigkeit (PDF, 932 kB, 24.08.2021)
Formulaire d’annonce de l’activité lucrative (PDF, 2 MB, 24.08.2021)
Modulo per la notifica di un’attività lucrativa (PDF, 959 kB, 24.08.2021)
The completed form should be sent to the competent cantonal authorities (PDF, 280 kB, 24.08.2021) , in the canton where the person is working.
Employment is permitted to all of the above anywhere in Switzerland once the authorities have been notified. However, working in a different canton from the canton of residence does not give a person a legal right to change the canton of residence. Such a change remains subject to authorisation.
Yes, it is possible to change jobs. The termination of the previous job and also the start of the new job must be reported to the authorities.
Training and education for persons seeking or granted asylum (B, F and N permit)
Under the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act, students and trainees are regarded as employed; persons seeking or granted asylum must, therefore, notify the authorities if they take training or education courses.
Generally, any person who is seeking or has been granted asylum (B or F permit) may take up an apprenticeship or undergo training, regardless of their age, providing the authorities are notified.
Asylum seekers (N permit) will only be permitted to undertake training or enter into an apprenticeship contract lasting several years if they are likely to remain in Switzerland for some time and are able to finish their training. If this is not the case, it may be in the young person’s interest if the authorities look into the option of them participating in a shorter training course, a further education programme or an internship. All these options require authorisation from the competent cantonal migration or employment office:
Cantonal immigration and employment market authorities
During compulsory schooling and in the context of programmes to prepare for basic vocational training (incl. bridge-year courses, e.g. 10th school year or 12th HarmoS, professionally supervised vocational integration programmes, etc.), trial apprenticeships and work experience themes of up to two weeks are not subject to registration for young people and adults who are recognised refugees (B permit), provisionally admitted refugees (F permit), other provisionally admitted persons (F permit) and stateless persons (B or F permit).
A further exception to the notification requirement applies to foreign nationals (B and F permits) under the age of 17 who do casual work, such as the jobs advertised by Pro Juventute, jobs4teens or similar organisations, for a maximum of 100 hours per year to increase their pocket money.
Trial apprenticeships and jobs for pocket money are not classified as employment under the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act and are therefore not subject to notification. Work activities and placements that last longer are, however, subject to authorisation.
For asylum seekers (N permit) all activities (including trial apprenticeships and work experience themes) outside of employment programmes are always subject to authorisation and fees.
People from the field of asylum do not need permission or to notify the authorities if the work trial does not last more than half a day and if the person may realistically be granted a work permit for the work in question. The maximum duration may be exceptionally extended up to one working day if justified. Further information should be obtained from the competent cantonal migration and employment office:
Cantonal immigration and employment market authorities
Work trials that do not require authorisation or notification should not be confused with the probationary period under employment law (Art. 335b Code of Obligations). However, longer assignments are subject to authorisation or notification.
Recognised refugees (B permit), refugees and other persons who have been temporarily admitted (F permit) and stateless persons (B or F permit) may be self-employed if they notify the authorities.
Asylum seekers (N permit) are not permitted to be self-employed.
Where can I obtain further information?
Further information is available in the Directives on Foreign Nationals and Integration in Chapter 4.8.5 regulating employment for people from the field of asylum (available only in German, French or Italian), or from the competent cantonal migration or employment office.
Last modification 08.11.2023