Access to the Swiss labour market for the family members of staff members of permanent missions and international organisations

Eligibility for "Ci" permit

The following persons have access to the Swiss labour market insofar as they are resident in Switzerland and are part of the household of the principal beneficiary :

  • Family members of members of personnel of the permanent missions and international organisations (holders of "B", "C", "D", "E", "G", "I", "L" "P" and "R" legitimation cards issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs - FDFA).
  • Unmarried children of these persons, who have been admitted to Switzerland to enable a family regrouping before the age of 21. These children have access to the Swiss labour market even if they accept employment after the age of 21.

A special permit, named "Ci" permit, will be issued for this purpose by the cantonal authority concerned (see details below) upon the presentation of a work contract, a contract proposition or a declaration stating the desire to take up an independent activity. A Ci permit is also delivered when the person is working for an employer based in a foreign country (for example via the "teleworking"). The procedure is described below.

Remark: children authorised to come to Switzerland in order to live with their parents between the ages of 21 to 25 and holders of a legitimation card of the DFA cannot receive a Ci permit. They are subject to the standard regulations governing the exercise of gainful employment by foreigners in Switzerland (should they wish to work).

Attestation

To make it easier for family members to approach employers when seeking employment, the Swiss Mission provide an attestation to those interested. This document entitled Attestation concerning the issuance of an authorisation for a residence permit with gainful employment ("Ci permit") attests to the fact that these persons are not subject to :

  • quotas on foreign labour,
  • the principle of priority recruitment zones,
  • regulations governing the labour market, namely the principles of priority for resident employees and of prior control of working and payment conditions.

The attestation remains in the possession of the person to whom it was issued. It is valid for the same period of time as the legitimation card or, if the beneficiary already holds a "Ci" permit, for the same period of time as the legitimation card of the principal beneficiary. The affidavit can be renewed by the Swiss Mission at the same time as the aforementioned legitimation card if the beneficiary holds the latter.

The attestation is a document emanating from the Aliens’ Office of the canton of residence and conveyed by the Swiss Mission upon the presentation of a written request by the applicant (see "form" to use below).

"Ci" Permit

Upon the presentation of a work contract, a contract proposition or a declaration stating the desire to take up an independent activity, including a description of the activity, the above-mentioned spouses and children may exchange their legitimation card for a "Ci" permit for foreigners, authorising them to reside in the country and take up gainful employment, named "Ci" permit.

The beneficiaries of the "Ci" permit are not subject to :

  • quotas on foreign labour,
  • the principle of priority recruitment zones,
  • regulations governing the labour market, namely the principles of priority for resident employees and of prior control of working and payment conditions.

The "Ci" permit is issued by the Alien’s Office of the canton of residence (see details below). Holders of the "Ci" permit must pay taxes in accordance with federal regulations on collected tax as based on the federal Law regarding the residence and establishment of foreigners.

The "Ci" permit is issued for a salaried activity (full time or part time) or for an independent activity. The independent activity may only be exercised if the holder of the "Ci" permit has obtained the necessary authorisation to practice the profession or activity in question from the competent authorities (such as officials responsible for commercial activities or for health matters). The "Ci" permit is valid for the duration of the contract or for the duration of the independent activity, and for no more than two years. At the time of its expiration, it must be submitted to the cantonal Aliens’ Office for control with a view to its renewal. If the place of employment or profession is changed during the period of validity of the "Ci" permit, the holder must submit it in advance to the cantonal Alien’s Office in order to make the necessary changes.

The validity of the "Ci" permit is limited to territory in the canton that issued it. If the place of employment is in a canton other than that which issued it (namely the canton of residence), the person holding the "Ci" permit must seek the consent of the canton of employment in advance.

Family members mentioned above may continue to benefit from a "Ci" permit as long as the principal beneficiary is exercising an official function. They may continue to hold a "Ci" permit as long as they are gainfully employed or, in the event of becoming unemployed, as long as they are entitled to unemployment benefits. The "Ci" permit will, in any case, cease to be valid once the principal beneficiary loses the right to his or her legitimation card.

Privileges and immunities

Before obtaining a "Ci" permit, the beneficiary must return the legitimation card of the DFA. The holder of a "Ci" permit nevertheless continues to enjoy all of the privileges and immunities to which a member of the family is entitled, except that which concerns his or her gainful employment. The page attached to the "Ci" permit certifies these privileges and immunities. It also indicates that the holder of a "Ci" permit :

  • do not enjoy civil and administrative jurisdiction immunity in case of claims related to his or her gainful employment, regardless of his right to diplomatic status,
  • is subject to tax on the income from gainful employment,
  • is subject to Swiss social insurance (AVS/AI/APG/AC and LLP) and to accident insurance insofar as gainful employment is concerned.

Termination of gainful employment

Once the holder of the "Ci" permit is no longer gainfully employed and no longer has the right to unemployment benefits, he or she must return the "Ci" permit to the Alien's Office of the canton concerned. The legitimation card will then be returned if he or she is still entitled to it.

List of Cantonal Offices of Population

Canton of Basel-City

Service of Population and Migration (Bevölkerungsdienste und Migration)
Spiegelgasse 6
Postfach
4001 Basel
Tel. +41 (0)61 267 71 71
Fax +41 (0)61 267 70 80
Service of Population and Migration (de)

Canton of Basel-Land

Office of Migration (Amt für Migration)
Parkstrasse 3
4402 Frenkendorf
Tel. +41 (0)61 552 51 61
Fax +41 (0)61 921 04 24
Office of migration (de)

Canton of Berne

Service of Migrations of canton of Berne (Service des migrations du canton de Berne)
Customer service
Eigerstrasse 73
3011 Berne
Tel. +41 (0)31 633 53 15
Fax +41 (0)31 633 42 40
Service of Migrations of canton of Berne (fr)

Canton of Fribourg

Service of Population and migrants (Service de la population et des migrants)
Route d'Englisberg 11
1763 Granges-Paccot
Tel. +41 (0)26 305 14 92
Fax +41 (0)26 305 50 23
Service of Population and migrants (fr)

Canton of Geneva

Cantonal Office of Population and Migrations (OCPM) (Office cantonal de la population et des migrations (OCPM)
Route de Chancy 88
1211 Genève 2
Tel. +41 (0)22 546 48 88
Fax +41 (0)22 546 48 10
Office of Population and Migrations (fr)

Canton of Vaud

Service of Population (Service de la population)
Division foreigners (Division étrangers)
Avenue de Beaulieu 19
1014 Lausanne
Tel. +41 (0)21 316 46 46
Fax +41 (0)21 316 46 45
Service of Population (fr)

Specialist Contact

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Service of Registration of the international community 
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37