Unemployment Office – RAV Zurich and first steps to register as unemployed

For RAV registration the following documents should documents be available.

RAV will advise more precisely what they need and may want you to post or email scanned copies to them:

  1. Foreigner’s identification card (B, L or C permit)
  2. Passport
  3. Work contract
  4. Termination letter
  5. AHV grey card or medical insurance card with AHV number
  6. Your complete application file i.e. CV, reference letters and certificates/diplomas
  7. List of applications made to-date
  8. Registration of your current address

To understand how the RAV works and its processes, please consider working through this simple e-learning course (multiple language choices):

Your obligations and how the Zurich RAV services help you to find work

At the end of the course, email the certificate to your own email for possible later use.

Many group members have been through issues related to unemployment and recruiter ageism in Switzerland ( contrary to the efforts of companies to “gloss” over this or the authorities efforts to overcome it). Common advice from group members includes:

  1. Do not delay a job search and wait to send applications, start sending applications immediately. 
  2. If you are short of 12 months of working in Switzerland, you will need to obtain a PD U1 form from the employment office in the last EU country you worked in. It will help you in your claim for unemployment payments in Switzerland, even if not asked for it, consider getting it as a fail-safe.
  3. Do not quit your job. It has an impact on the benefits you will receive and how long you may have to wait. At times of stress like 2012 or 2008, it is possible that your employer will put you on short-time-work (Kurzarbeit) and you will still be employed but not working.
  4. Use RAV’s job-room.ch to help locate a new position (update Mar 2020 – system being overwhelmed due to Coronavirus job claims and use)

2 thoughts on “Unemployment Office – RAV Zurich and first steps to register as unemployed”

  1. I lost my job after working in Switzerland for 2 years and applied for RAV in Rüti and later was send to SYNA Olten and they just delayed paying me no I have over 5 Mahnung( delays of payment penalty) I risk losing the house coz I didn’t pay the rent, my child is about to be kicked out of the Kinderkrippe because I cant afford to pay and I am not likely to get a house in future because of bad history now I wonder do they even help? or what am I not understanding? 🙃

    • Dear Ephraim,

      Sorry to read/hear your news, RAV payments are typically delayed and the paperwork needs to be completed and that alone is a task. Many interviews are in German and you need someone to go with you sometimes to “argue” with them. Not every adviser is the same and there are bad ones as well as good ones.

      SYNA are there to support you with legal/employment and your local Gemeinde / Sozialamt and church will assist with the requests for payment and housing.

      At times of distress the Sozialamt may ask you to cash in your pension, or treat the money they give as a loan to be repaid. It happens because Switzerland is very different to other countries and their social support systems. It all is linked to your permit type and status. All steps are discussed with you.

      PLEASE consider calling https://www.caritas-schuldenberatung.ch/en/home.html as they are used to working with people across Switzerland.

      The post we made is simply to point local Zurich people in the direction of the local Zurich RAV unemployment offices, we cannot speak or advise on debt, rules or how other cantons treat those who are unemployed.

      Good luck,


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