Foreign apprentices

Employing foreign apprentices: Foreign nationals who wish to undertake professional training or work in Switzerland must have the corresponding residence permit.

EU/EFTA Member states

The following conditions apply for citizens of an EU/EFTA member state who wish to undertake training: a residence permit issued upon presentation of an apprenticeship contract drawn up with an employer and approved by the canton. The person receiving the training must prove that he/she has sufficient financial resources, without needing to request state aide. The residence permit is valid for one year. It is extended each year, providing that the relevant conditions are fulfilled. For Croatian nationals, transitional arrangements apply (contingents, native preference conditions favoring the hiring of Swiss candidates, and compliance with salary and working conditions). The cantonal migration and employment authorities are the competent authorities for granting residence permits.

Third countries

In the majority of cases, third-country nationals who wish to receive training must have a work permit and a residence permit. For third-country nationals arriving in Switzerland, the standard entry conditions provided for by law for foreign nationals apply (contingents, order of priority, personal qualifications, remuneration and working conditions).

Young persons who are third-country nationals and who live in Switzerland under the status of recognized refugees (B permit), temporarily admitted refugees (F permit) or temporarily admitted persons (F permit) must request a work permit from the cantonal migration and employment authorities before starting the training. They must provide an approved apprenticeship contract (assessment of salary and working conditions).

Asylum seekers

Young asylum seekers (N permit) may stay in Switzerland without exercising a gainful activity for three months after submitting their request for asylum. The canton can extend this period by three months. The canton can also approve a training course or an apprenticeship contract which lasts several years if, in all likelihood, the person concerned will remain in Switzerland in the long term and will therefore be able to complete the entire course. Exercising a gainful activity may be approved if the economic situation and labor market allow, and if salary and working conditions–as well as native preference conditions–are respected. The training provider can contact the cantonal migration and employment authorities for more information on this point.

Undocumented persons

Under certain circumstances, undocumented young persons can obtain a residence permit for the duration of the professional training, but this is not an automatic right. If the request is rejected, the young persons and their family may be repatriated. For more detailed information, the training provider should contact the cantonal migration and employment authorities.


Last modification 26.06.2020

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