As well as being something of a Swiss fairytale town, Neuchatel is also famous for its part in the watch industry. Many companies have been attracted to this region, specifically hi-tech companies specializing in medical and micro-technology, machinery and information technology. These high value businesses have contributed to the wealth of the region, and this, combined with research centers in the town, all help to make Neuchatel a town of undeniable contrast between the old and the new.
High levels of the employment in Neuchatel for local people are in the schools and education facilities. There are still jobs in mining and construction, but these are few and far between. Over 15,000 people commute to Neuchatel and its surrounding area for work from the Romandy region. Skilled expatriates are welcomed into jobs in the hi-tech industries in the region, and also in local education.
Highly skilled individuals with experience in precision mechanics should be able to find jobs in Neuchatel, but it may be difficult with many people already working in Neuchatel from the surrounding area. It is not easy to find these jobs online, and often people are headhunted. However, having contacts in the businesses in the Romandy region may help you to find vacancies.
The most effective way to secure employment in Neuchatel and around Neuchatel Lake is to contact companies directly, letting them know of your skills and experience. Sites like LinkedIn can really help you to make contacts and find vacancies. The levels of English in the town are very good, thanks to the international involvement, but some knowledge of French will really help you to secure employment. It is also possible to find teaching positions in the schools in the area, but there are few positions for English teachers, so being fluent in French is essential.
The process for obtaining a work permit to live in Neuchatel Lake is different depending on your nationality. European Union citizens are usually allowed entry into the country for up to three months in order to look for employment, and once a job has been secured, a work permit can be obtained. A short term work permit is an L permit, and this lasts from three to 12 months.
Following on from this, an initial residence permit will be required which will run up to five years, and the following step is to obtain a permanent residence permit which can last indefinitely. You will need to have lived in Switzerland consistently for five years in order to get this residence permit.
In order to acquire a permit, you will need to send your passport to the Swiss Embassy in your home country, and you will also need a copy of a letter from your employer confirming the work you will be doing and the length of the contract. Passport photographs and evidence that you have valid health insurance are also requirements when you apply for a work permit. If you are not from a European Union country, you will not be able to enter for the first three months without a permit, and a visa will need to be obtained while you are in your home country.