An Australian in Basel
Home > Swiss Residency > Testimonials > Australian in Basel

The Rhine in Basel
The Rhine in Basel

Swiss body shoppers
Companies in Switzerland, as elsewhere, have trouble recruiting qualified IT specialists. The restrictive Swiss work permit quota system does not make it easier.

The solution that many Swiss companies use is to go through an agency (sometimes known as a body shopper) located in a canton where work permits are easier to get. The agency hires dozens of foreign IT specialists and then contracts them out to banks and other companies who could not get residence permits because they already had a large number of recently recruited foreign staff and authorities were reluctant to see a company swallow their depleted work permit quota.

This set-up usually satisfies both the agency and the client company. The worker, however, often feels he is taken advantage of. And actually he sometimes is. Even though the client company pays CHF.20'000 a month and up to use the worker's skills, the worker rarely sees more than 50% of it.

Bleeding hearts please note that even with this "pimp's percentage" these IT specialists earn 2 times the median Swiss income.

Whatever the absolute level their paycheck rise, many IT specialists in this situation would like to do away with the agency and work directly for the client company. This is, unfortunately, not always possible.

For the IT worker, the problem is to keep his work permit. These work permits - B permits - are always attached to a company. The simple solution is to wait 5 to 10 years for a C permit and set up shop as a sole trader ("Mr Bean IT services").

The other solution is to incorporate his own company and hire a few Swiss employees so that he can get a residence permit as an investor/manager.

That's what we did for Dr. M.

Born in Australia, Dr. M. received a Phd in Physics from the University of Melbourne before starting his professional life in Antarctica as a meteorologist. After a few years he came back to Australia and set up shop in Melbourne as a computer consultant.

Dr. M. worked for 15 years as a computer consultant, managing large IT projects for top Australian companies. Australia is a fine place but Dr. M. and his wife felt there was more to this world than the antipodes and decided to move to Europe. Having carefully studied the European continent, the couple found out that the best country to move to be was Switzerland.

Our client's exceptional qualifications enabled him to find quickly several Swiss employers ready to sponsor his work permit application and in no time he found himself working on a critical IT project for a very large Swiss bank in Zurich.

Dr. M. sounds like a man that did not need Micheloud & Cie’s services, and indeed he did not – if he wanted to remain an employee (see box).

When he came to see us with his wife in the beginning of 2001, Dr. M.’s plan was simple : establish his own business somewhere in Switzerland and deal directly with his clients. We worked out a battle plan with him and promptly drew up a list of five cantons that offered centrality relative to Dr. M’s client pools high quality of life and a ready supply of qualified workforce.

M. Micheloud shopped for the best canton for our client, pitching the project to several cantonal authorities. The result was beyond expectations, with all cantons we contacted being ready to accept our client and grant him a new B permit (we needed a fresh unit from the cantonal quota).

Dr. M. finally chose the canton of Basel City, with its central location, multilingual population and excellent University where young graduates could be recruited. Basel’s amazing location, halfway between Berne and Zurich and sharing borders with France and Germany was a big advantage. The city's large chemical industry would also offer a steady supply of clients.

Micheloud & Cie filed the application with the Basel authorities and soon we began to receive one by one the approval from the various layers of administration. Relations with the body-shopping company were salvaged by one of Dr. M.'s client who used its clout to be able to retain Dr. M. even if he left the body-shopping company.

Only a few months after having met with Micheloud & Cie, Dr. M.’s Swiss experience was put on a much better course as he was now head of his own IT company with a long waiting list of clients eager to buy his skills.

 Other pages of interest:

© Micheloud & Cie 2013      Tel. ++41 21 331 48 48  info@switzerland.isyours.com. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form or by any means without our prior written permission. Printed from http://Switzerland.isyours.com/e/testimonials/immigration/business/australian.basel.html