Switzerland has concluded agreements with 13 countries outside of the EU, including the United States, so young people can extend their job and language skills in the country.
The countries that qualify include New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. A full list can be found here.
To qualify as trainees, would-be workers must have concluded vocational training that lasted at least two years, work in the same occupation as their training, and be younger than 35 (30 in some cases). No part-time work or self-employed work is allowed.
Trainees from the EU/EFTA area no longer need a work permit in Switzerland, but staying longer than four months requires a formal registration with the labour market authorities. (In June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. It will remain an EU member while negotiations are carried out. After that, it is not clear how Brexit will affect British citizens wanting to live, work and study in Switzerland.)
Permits are generally valid for 18 months. Workers may train under several programmes as long as they do not exceed 18 months combined.
For more information on trainee programmes and a complete list of the countries involved, please see the State Secretariat for Migration website on occupational training.
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