Facilitated access to the Swiss labour market for persons entitled to accompany the principal individual beneficiary

Legal basis: Art. 22 of the Ordinance of 7 December 2007 to the Federal Act on the Privileges, Immunities and Facilities and the Financial Subsidies granted by Switzerland as a Host State (Host State Ordinance, HSO) (RS 192.121). 

Eligibility for a Ci permit 

The following persons have facilitated access to the Swiss labour market if they are entitled to accompany the principal individual beneficiary in accordance with Art. 20 para. 1 HSO and provided they are permanently resident in Switzerland and live together with the principal individual beneficiary in the same household: 

  • Family members of the staff of diplomatic missions and career consular representations (holders of a legitimation card of the type B, C, D, E, K with pink/black band, KB, KC, K with blue/black band, KD, K with purple/black band, or KE issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)).

  • Unmarried children of these persons who entered Switzerland under family reunification rules before the age of 21. Children of beneficiaries have access to the Swiss labour market even if they take up employment after the age of 21. 

A special permit, called a Ci permit, will be issued for this purpose by the competent cantonal office (see addresses below) upon presentation of an employment contract or job offer or a declaration of intention to work in a self-employed capacity. The procedure is described below. 

Note: Children of beneficiaries who become eligible for family reunification when aged 21 to 25 and who hold an FDFA legitimation card are subject to normal rules on the exercise of gainful employment by foreigners in Switzerland. 

Procedures 

Attestations 

To make it easier for family members to approach potential employers, FDFA Protocol can provide them with an 'Attestation concerning the issuance of an authorisation for a residence permit with gainful employment (Ci permit)'. This document certifies that the person concerned is not subject to: 

  • foreign labour quotas

  • the principle of priority recruitment zones

  • labour market requirements, i.e. the principle of prioritising resident workers and advance checking of pay and working conditions. 

This attestation remains in the possession of the person concerned. It is valid for the same period as the legitimation card or, if the holder already holds a Ci permit, the same period of validity as the principal individual beneficiary's legitimation card. It is renewed by FDFA Protocol at the same time as the corresponding legitimation card if this is held by the person concerned. 

The attestation must be requested in a note verbale together with the form 'Application for an attestation (Ci permit)', signed by the person concerned. The attestation is a document issued by the Migration Office of the canton of residence. It is delivered to the embassy by FDFA Protocol. 

Application for an attestation (Ci permit) (PDF, 184.2 kB, English)

Ci permit 

Upon presentation of the 'Attestation concerning the issuance of an authorisation for a residence permit with gainful employment (Ci permit)' together with an employment contract or job offer or a declaration of intention to work in a self-employed capacity and a description of the self-employed activity, those eligible for a Ci permit will receive, in exchange for their legitimation card, a permit for foreign nationals comprising an authorisation for residence with gainful employment, known as a Ci permit. 

Holders of a Ci permit are not subject to: 

  • foreign labour quotas
  • the principle of priority recruitment zones
  • labour market requirements, i.e. the principle of prioritising resident workers and advance checking of pay and working conditions. 

The Ci permit is issued by the cantonal Migration Office of the canton of residence. Holders of a Ci permit must pay fees in accordance with the federal Ordinance on fees charged under the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration (RS 142.209). 

The Ci permit is issued for a salaried position (full-time or part-time) or a self-employed activity. In practice, a self-employed activity may only be pursued if the holder of the Ci permit has obtained the licences required to practise the profession or activity from the relevant authorities (e.g. for certain commercial or health-related activities). The Ci permit is valid for the duration of the contract or self-employed activity. In Bern, the Ci permit is valid for a maximum of one year, in Geneva a maximum of two years. Upon expiry it must be submitted to the cantonal Migration Office for inspection with a view to its renewal. If changing jobs during the period of validity of the Ci permit, the permit holder must submit it in advance to the cantonal Migration Office to have it amended. 

Any change of residence of a Ci permit holder must be reported immediately by the embassy to FDFA Protocol, with a copy sent to the permit holder's commune of residence. 

The Ci permit is valid only for the canton which issued it. If the permit holder wishes to work in a canton other than the one which issued the Ci permit (i.e. the canton of residence), they must first obtain the approval of the canton of employment. 

Family members who obtain a Ci permit may continue to use it for as long as the principal individual beneficiary exercises their official duties. They may hold a Ci permit for as long as they are in gainful employment or, if they lose their job, for as long as they are receiving unemployment benefits. The Ci permit becomes invalid once the main beneficiary loses the right to a legitimation card. 

Privileges and immunities 

Before obtaining a Ci permit, the beneficiary must return the legitimation card issued by the FDFA. The holder of a Ci permit continues to enjoy the privileges and immunities of a person entitled to accompany the principal individual beneficiary, except in matters concerning their gainful employment. 

The privileges and immunities are evidenced by a separate sheet attached to the Ci permit. This attachment also states that the holder of the Ci permit: 

  • does not enjoy civil and administrative immunity in the event of any action relating to their gainful employment, even if they would otherwise have diplomatic status,

  • is subject to income tax in respect of their gainful employment,

  • is subject to Swiss social insurance (OASI/IV/LEC/CA), occupational pension insurance (OPA) and accident insurance in respect of their gainful employment. 

At the end of the period of gainful employment 

If the holder of the Ci permit is no longer gainfully employed and no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, they must return their Ci permit to the competent cantonal Migration Office. Their legitimation card will be returned to them at the embassy's request if they are still entitled to hold it. 

Competent authorities 

BE 

Migrationsdienst des Kantons Bern
Eigerstrasse 73, 3011 Bern
Tel. 031 633 53 15 – Fax 031 633 47 39 

Einwohnerdienste, Migration und Fremdenpolizei der Stadt Bern
Predigergasse 5, Postfach, 3000 Bern 7
Tel. 031 321 51 51 – Fax 031 321 52 09 

GE 

Office cantonal de la population et des migrations, Service Étrangers et Confédérés
Rte de Chancy 88, 1213 Onex
Tel. 022 546 48 88 – Fax 022 546 48 10 

VD 

Service de la population, Secteur Étrangers
Avenue de Beaulieu 19, 1014 Lausanne
Tel. 021 316 46 46 – Fax 021 316 46 45 

FR 

Service de la population et des migrants
Rte d'Englisberg 11, 1763 Granges-Paccot
Tel. 026 305 14 92 – Fax 026 466 17 85 

NE 

Service des migrations
Case postale 124, Rue de Tivoli 28, 2003 Neuchâtel
Tel. 032 889 63 10 – Fax 032 889 98 23