Unemployment and social assistance

Unemployment insurance for the Swiss Abroad

Swiss nationals who have been living in an EU/EFTA member state have to claim their entitlements in the country in which they last worked. 

If you were employed outside the EU/EFTA, upon your return to Switzerland you will, in principle, be insured if you meet the following conditions: 


  • you lived abroad for more than one year
  • you were gainfully employed abroad for at least 12 months during the past two years
  • you provide confirmation from your employer of the duration of your employment abroad
  • you claim entitlement within one year after your return or entry into Switzerland 


Register with the employment office at your place of residence immediately after your return. In some cases, the entitlement to benefits may no longer apply after 12 months from the date of your return.

Job-Area (de, fr, it)


Social assistance

Under certain circumstances, the federal government provides social assistance to Swiss nationals living abroad who run into financial difficulty. The first step is to contact the Swiss representation responsible for your place of residence. 

Social assistance for Swiss nationals living abroad (fr/de/it)

If you have already returned to Switzerland, you should contact the social assistance service in the municipality in which you are registered.

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) operates a fund for providing financial assistance in the form of interest-free loans to returning Swiss nationals. One of the conditions is that applications have to be made within one year after their return. The purpose of this service is to help returning Swiss nationals overcome temporary emergencies and reintegrate into Swiss society. Please note that this support is intended to be subsidiary to social assistance and/or unemployment benefits.

Organisation of the Swiss Abroad