Unemployed - now what?

Hello everybody,

my husband was one of the people who have been made redundant in June. He has been on garden leave ever since. His garden leave is about to expire in August, i.e., as of September, he is going to be officially unemployed.

Does anyone know what the procedure in terms of government administration is? Should he let our Gemeinde or another government body know that he is now officially unemployed? We live in the Canton of Zurich in case this makes any difference.

The reason as to why I am asking this question is to make sure we do everything right and abide the Swiss law. He won't be applying for social security though since I am gainfully employed, and he will continue applying for jobs.

Thank you all for all the great inputs as always

He should contact the RAV in your area, they will give him documents to read and appointments to meet with his counsellor. Unless you do not want unemployment money, to which he is entitled (it is not social security).

He should have been applying for jobs already so make sure you have some documentation of that when you go to the RAV.

Have a look here:

And good luck to your hubby!

He should also immediately start applying for jobs and keep a log of all applications and responses. Otherwise the RAV may reduce his initial unemployment payments.

My son was on a fixed term contract which was supposed to be extended, but finally was not, lost 2 months unemployment benefits as he had not started to look for work before his fixed term contract ended.

In addition to the helpful suggestions made above, your husband should take the RAV online course called “Compulsory information for jobseekers” at this link. It’s in English and other languages:


Be sure to save the certificate of completion at the end of the course. The RAV adviser will need it.

Thank you all so much for so many valuable inputs!

So, just to clarify:

- Unemployment benefits doesn't equal social security. Thank you for clarifying Apart from being proud and not wanting to receive any state benefits whatsoever, he's a bit hesitant to apply for unemployment benefits if this could have a negative impact on him obtaining the C permit. We're both on a B permit now.

- He has been applying for jobs. He is also considering opening a business on his own though. Would anyone know by any chance if reaching out to RAV is mandatory if he doesn't want to receive unemployment benefits?

- Should he inform the Gemeinde, the migration office or AWA?

RAV is an insurance for which you pay monthly. And it won ́t impact your C permit request!

Thank you for clarifying

Also, we saw online that he'd need to contact the migration office: "Generally, you may stay in Switzerland for at least six months to seek new employment. However, you will have to apply for a permit as a job-seeker with the cantonal migration authorities." He's been in possession of a B permit since April 2021 after joining me in Switzerland following family reunification.

He needs to get sorted with RAV and get past his own pride.

This is not 'social security' in the classical sense. The way it works in Switzerland is that it is an INSURANCE - he has been paying a percentage of his salary, every month, to insure himself. Then, when needed, he can apply to receive part of that insurance back again, for up to 2 years.

It may be a bad analogy - but you accidentally damaged your car, would you be too embarrassed to go and claim insurance to get it fixed ?

If you are on B permit you don't need to worry until the permit is due for renewal. This is one reason why RAV will be important - as they can also renew the permit if he is entitled to unemployment benefits.

Is your residency permit tied to his ? If so, it's crucial that he finds employment again soon.....

He does not have to talk to anyone else- just RAV....

And personally I would recommend, if you have spare money, finding someone who specialises in job hunting for his field - if he does not pick up a job fast....

For the self-employment/starting a business ideas - yes, he can discuss this with RAV. Maybe they will allow it, but there will be lots of rules.

Can you really survive financially for up to 2 years without your husband working ?

Effectively, the RAV will be his employer. And his job is finding another job!

Amazing how with his unemployment looming so close that he did zero preparation other than sending his wife to a forum to get some info. Not only is all of this info extremely easily searchable but this should all have been organized weeks ago.

I'm also a bit cynical here -

From "made redundant in June" to "now what" in 2nd half of August - not really a "now" situation.

Thank you for the reply and the reality check

My residency permit is tied to my job. I have had the same full-time indefinite contract since January 2021. He joined me in Switzerland in April 2021 via family reunification. He didn't have employment back then as he quit his job in Ireland and found one in Switzerland in October 2021, so six months later. His B permit has not been issued based on employment but on family reunification due to us being in a partnership and me having enough financial means to support and thus prevent him to apply for social benefits. He is a Croatian citizen and thus EU/EFTA-national. Due to limitations for Croatian citizens though, he couldn't join me in Switzerland but via family reunification.

My B permit is due for renewal, i.e., "upgrade" to C in 2026, just as his is.

As for his pride, I understand him a bit. We came to Switzerland to work and contribute and not to receive social benefits, but if RAV is an insurance and is not considered a social benefit, this changes our perspective. We love the country and its people to bits and wouldn't want to take advantage of it in any way.

1. He didn't send his wife anywhere because he hasn't got any. He's got a husband. We support and help one another.

2. He's been applying for jobs since termination of employment was confirmed in June and working in parallel on founding his own business. His garden leave will officially be terminated as of 1 September. We hoped he would find suitable employment until now. It didn't happen, so we are researching which authority to inform about his unemployment status to avoid breaking any law.

3. My question revolves around which authority he as an EU/EFTA national should inform about his situation to avoid breaking any immigration or other laws and not around "Oh no! He's been sitting on his bottom for a few months and is now wondering what to do because the paychecks are going to stop coming!" People on this forum have plenty of knowledge and experience, and sometimes, first-hand information is much more useful than speculating. Some have helped by letting us know about RAV.

4. If you haven't got anything useful to say, you should perhaps refrain from switching off someone else's light for letting yours to shine, especially when having zero knowledge of someone's situation and background.

5. There are no silly questions, only silly answers

It's not that he hasn't been applying for jobs. He's been applying since his termination of employment got confirmed in June. He didn't waste a single day.

My question revolves primarily around whom he should contact - is it RAV, migration office, AWA, Gemeinde etc. to inform them of his situation and thus avoid breaking any laws. We stumbled upon plenty of information such as that upon employment termination, B-permit holders should apply for a job-seeker permit with the migration office etc.

It is clear now that it is RAV whom he should let know of his situation

He will continue searching and applying for jobs. It is just that we wanted to be sure he reaches out to the right authority and informs them about his unemployment now that his garden leave is about to end. We weren't sure whether this would be RAV, the migration office, AWA, or one, two of those or even all of them.

I think that you are confusing some topics. Of course he will not apply for social help , because to do that it would mean that he was gone through most of his own savings first.

What he needs to do is register at RAV so that he can receive unemployment benefits and start applying (or continue applying) for jobs, since he is already at the end of his notice period. RAV is a completety other thing and is not connected to social help. It is the agency which is responsible to support you during unemployment while you are looking for the next job, they are also managing the unemployment money which you receive and their plan is to find you a job (or push you into finding a job) as soon as possible. hint: a job , not your dream job. Part of this effort could be sending someone to german language classes or CV-writing classes.

It is not going to be a problem for C permit, unless you are unemployed while applying to get the C permit, I would focus however on the now and not on 2026 because it took apparently 2, almost 3 months, to find out some basic stuff e.g. the existence of RAV.

And sorry to be a bit harsch, but those are Infos which could be googled (e.g. check in ch.ch) within a few hours, not months after being made redundant, or you could have called at the gemeinde and asked, it's a 5 minute task.

In Neuchatel, they offer support to job seekers looking to start their own business, check with your RAV office if they do the same.

Could you link at least one such source here please? Maybe they know something that we don't.

His B permit has not been issued based on employment but on family reunification due to us being in a partnership and me having enough financial means to support and thus prevent him to apply for social benefits.

If you think about it, none of the above has changed just because he has become unemployed.

Careful with this however as he is an EU national but Croatian, so - as you mentioned - he is kind of not. It would be an "interesting" situation if you lost your permit that is tied to your job.... whose permit would be then the basis of your stay in CH, I'm not sure... hopefully it won't get to that.


The reason you go to the RAV is because, once you are laid off, then your B Permit needs to shift to a new employer. RAV acts as that employer which allows you to retain your B Permit (kantonal variations exist). And considering the job market, it does help to have the RAV money coming in till he finds something meaningful next. I dont think you need to inform anyone beyond the RAV. And as many folks have said, RAV is not Social Security. So does not impact your C Permit application