Interview with Carolina Souviron from SWISS BENEFITS AG

Swiss benefits
Carolina Souviron

What kind of services are people looking for?

Advice and support in legal issues are the main aspects we deal with. We also receive many inquiries for support in administrative matters with the authorities.

What are the most common questions/issues?

The main topic is regarding work and resident permits and naturalization, we also provide trainings. In cross border cases many questions arise regarding social insurance matters, for example.

Where do your clients come from? Respectively, where do the employees that Swiss companies want to hire come from?

That depends a lot on the company’s field of business. In IT, they are often from so-called third countries. Our clients arrive from the entire world. If I would have to weight them, I would say South Africa, Australia, USA and the United Kingdom.

And from which fields of business?

Mainly IT, medicine and other highly-specialized fields.

What is the expat’s favorite city?

That depends highly on their field of business. Zurich and Geneva are among the favorites.

Do you also organize so-called „Expat Packages“? If yes, how do they look?

Basically, we are specialized on the legal and regulatory aspects of a move to Switzerland. We often receive inquiries, but we don’t usually take on the tasks. Naturally, there are exceptions.

What is the biggest challenge for the foreign employee’s family? Do you also take care of resident and work permits for spouses and appropriate schooling for children?

These tasks are naturally very individualized and it depends on the level of experience they already have. Bureaucracy is often underestimated and runs through all aspects of life. Otherwise, there are also the usual challenges regarding languages, cultural differences e.g. different names for foods and the laundry room rules.

In general, we take care of permits for the entire family, we establish contact with the schools and we provide information on the Swiss system. We also take care of insurance matters; we often translate and explain contracts, and give a crash course on everyday legal issues (garbage disposal, car driving etc.) We try to organize a simple and best possible transition to Switzerland.

Are there any trends/developments in the expat working world (other fields/other contracts/shorter or longer durations etc.)?

Tendentially, it is increasingly difficult for companies that rely on employees from abroad, to get them to Switzerland in a timely manner. Many variables are involved. Recruitment is not easy and depending on the country of origin, the permit and visa process can be lengthy. And we haven’t yet addressed the details of arriving families, residence, flexibility and risks.

Furthermore, more often than before, employment contracts are limited to one year. The effort and expenses for both the employer and employee have increased massively, especially when hiring specialists from third world countries (non-EU/EFTA countries). On one hand, proof is required that a suitable employee could not be found in Switzerland or the EU/EFTA area, which requires a lot of time and administration, and on the other hand, there’s a risk that the already small quota for employees from third world countries has already been used up. Switzerland has many very well educated employees, but demand surpasses availability. Unfortunately, current developments in Switzerland indicate that there will be more restrictions in the future. Switzerland is an attractive location for many reasons, but there is always potential for improvement.

Swiss Benefits

SWISS BENEFITS AG

Seftigenstrasse 310, 3084 Wabern, Switzerland

(near Bern)

T: +41 (0)31 566 70 01

 

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