Important note: Non-EU citizens cannot apply for a work permit in Switzerland since the maximum number of work permits for 2017 has already been issued. We advise you either to host an au pair from an EU country or to wait until next year.
Young people from almost any country can become au pairs in Switzerland. This, however, does not include young people from countries which do not have a diplomatic relationship with Switzerland.
Enquire, therefore, with your local immigration or employment authorities whether your family can take on an au pair from a non-EU country.
In order for your au pair to be able to work in Switzerland, you need to apply for a work and residence permit at the relevant cantonal immigration and labour market authority. The following items need to presented for the application:
Once the cantonal job market authority has reached a preliminary decision, the documents will be examined by the Federal Office for Migration and checked in accordance with the criteria for the whole of Switzerland. They will also look at how many local citizens want to become au pairs, as they have priority over other persons, and also at the limit of citizens from foreign countries when assessing your application. This process can take up to four weeks.
If your au pair requires a visa, they must apply for one at the relevant diplomatic authorities in their own country. Along with the application form, they will need the following documents in order to apply:
All documents must be originals. If the original documents are not in English or one of the official languages of Switzerland, they will need to be translated. The authorities often ask for the translation to be done by a sworn translator.
Once the Foreign Office for Migration has approved your au pair's application, the cantonal migration authorities authorise the issuance of a visa (entry permit for Switzerland). Your au pair can subsequently collect the visa at the embassy in their home country and travel to Switzerland.
Your au pair must register at the registration office within 8 days of their arrival in Switzerland and before they begin with their au pair duties. They need to take the following documents with them to be able to register successfully:
After the au pair has registered, they will receive an identity card from the Office of Migration. The identity card is valid as a work and residence permit. This will be issued for a maximum of one year and cannot be extended.
An au pair is considered an employed person in Switzerland. This means that their pocket money falls under social contribution requirements, just like any other employment income. In order to calculate the contribution amounts, you need to apply for a social insurance certificate for your au pair at the social insurance authorities.
Your au pair requires the same insurance as any other employee.
You, as the host family, must set up health, accident, pension and unemployment insurance contributions for your au pair. In order to calculate the contributions, the social insurance organisation needs the name of the insurance company and the name of the insured person. Half of the contributions are usually paid by the host family and the other half will come out of the au pair's gross income.
Federal Office for Migration: Leaflet for foreign nationals on Swiss social insurance
Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police: Leaflet "Living and working in Switzerland"
Swissworld: Switzerland's official information portal
We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.