Working Basics in Geneva



It is recommended that you secure a job with a company in Geneva before relocating. It is generally difficult to land a job when you’re looking for a job on a tourist visa.

Switzerland has restrictive immigration policies and work permit quotas. There is a Swiss/EU bilateral agreement that guarantees the free movement of EU citizens in Switzerland. This facilitates entry, residence and employment in Switzerland. However, the requirements for non-EU citizens have now become more stringent.

To apply for an employment visa, you will need to have a sponsor. This is usually your employer. The company’s Human Resource department should be able to assist and advise you on your application. Different conditions apply depending on whether you are an EU citizen. For more information, click here.

According to Swiss law, foreign workers relocating in the city have to be employed under the same salaries and work conditions as Swiss citizens.Foreign qualifications are recognised as equivalent if the training is similar to that of a Swiss qualification. Swiss/EU agreements mean that Switzerland now recognises most EU qualifications.

Job Search

You could try looking for a job online at the following websites:

Holidays and Days-off

In Switzerland, public holidays are defined on a cantonal basis. Only August 1, which is the Swiss National Day, is celebrated by the entire country.

New Year’s Day

January 1

Good Friday

A day in March/April

Easter Monday

A day in March/April

Ascension Day

A day in May


A day in May/June

Swiss National Day

August 1

Geneva Fast

2nd Thursday of September

Christmas Day

December 25

Restauration Day

December 31


The federal corporate income tax rate is at a flat rate of 8.5%. Cantonal tax rates vary; in general, it’s based on a progressive rate depending on different factors. In Switzerland, all taxes due by corporate taxpayers are deductible. As this differs from many other countries, Swiss tax rates should not be compared 1:1 with foreign tax rates.

Individual income tax is levied at federal, cantonal and communal level. The income tax is progressive in nature and the total rate does not usually exceed 40%. As an expat, you may claim certain deductions according to specific cantonal and federal laws, e.g. housing costs, moving, travelling and school fees for children.In the Canton of Geneva, the highest marginal income tax rates for federal, cantonal and municipal taxes amount to 51% of the taxable income (city of Geneva) and 43% (municipality of Meyrin).