Innovation and progress in the heart of the mountains
Valais lives from its landscape and its expertise in making the most of it. The variety of natural resources and the unspoilt natural landscape are also essential assets for tourism, one of the most important contributors to the economy. A strong energy industry uses the huge water reserves in the mountains for environmentally friendly electricity generation. Valais is home to large, internationally active companies such as the Lonza pharma and chemical group in Visp and DSM in Lalden, Synthes (medical technology) in Raron and the Bosch works (power tools) in St. Niklaus, as well as numerous SMEs operating within a wide variety of sectors including commerce, industry, construction and agriculture – a lively economic structure with a mix of tradition and innovation.
Access to the labour market
Switzerland has a dual system for admitting foreign workers. Employed persons from EU/EFTA countries (excluding Croatia) can benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons and thus gain easy access to the Swiss labour market. Only a limited number of executives, specialists and qualified workers are admitted from non-EU/EFTA countries. Since 1.5.2011, employed persons of all qualification levels from EU/EFTA states only require a residence permit for gainful employment. This comes with the right to change employer, occupation and place of residence. Foreign nationals or their employers can apply for a permit at the residents’ registration office (Einwohneramt) in the municipality of residence.