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  • Gainful employment vs non-gainful employment

    Coronavirus: Switzerland adapts its entry requirements for transit air travel

    News and current developments on work and residence permits


News and current developments on work and residence permits

31 August 2020

Gainful employment vs. non-gainful employment

In practice, questions of differentiation often arise when classifying assignments as gainful or non-gainful employment and thus, whether a work permit is required. In principle, individuals entering Switzerland for gainful purposes are required to have a work permit. A Schengen visa (as well business visa) only entitles the holder to enter Switzerland. However, it does not replace a work permit.

Gainful employment basically includes project- or customer-related work. Only for activities that do not fall under the term of gainful employment, a work permit is not required. The following table shows examples and is not exhaustive.

Gainful employment (= work permit required)

Non-gainful employment

Project assignments, including project- and customer-related meetings

Short representative assignments of managers without doing gainful work 

Training on the job;
Training and induction of new-hires

Contract negotiations

Stays for Internships, Trainee or Stagiaire

Work reports and short business meetings of a few days which are not project or customer related (e.g. top managers meeting at headquarters for an internal strategy meeting)

Repair, maintenance or warranty work

Theoretical training with training concept (special training environment outside the production process):

  • Theoretical and technical courses without practical application (e.g. sales training)
  • Theoretical seminars
  • Workshops in connection with new technical systems (e.g. participation in a workshop on new application systems)

Pastoral care

Participation in congresses and events

Local employment in Switzerland

Arrangements connected with the management of own assets


Switzerland adapts practice on entry requirements for transit air travel

Since August 31st, it is no longer possible to enter Switzerland from a high-risk country on a transit flight via a non-high-risk country. However, passengers travelling from a non-high-risk country will be able to enter Switzerland even if they have a stopover in a high-risk country, provided they do not leave the transit area of the airport. Until now, it has been possible to circumvent the entry restrictions by travelling via airports in countries not on the high-risk list.

In Switzerland, the quarantine obligation for travelers from certain countries and areas continues to apply. The FOPH (Swiss Federal Office of Public Health) maintains a corresponding list, which is regularly adapted to the global pandemic development.