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Personnel Relocation to Switzerland

Personnel Relocation to Switzerland

Employee relocation to Switzerland is based on specific procedures, as the country is not an EU member state. This means that EU and non-EU workers must obtain intra-company transfer visas in accordance with specific agreements which Switzerland entered in order to simplify such procedures.

If you are interested in personnel relocation to Switzerland, the guide below will clarify some of the most important issues. However, for specific support, please rely on our immigration lawyers in Switzerland.

The procedure for employee relocation to Switzerland

One of the most important aspects to consider for inter-company transfers in Switzerland is that the procedure must be approved at two levels:

  • federal;
  • cantonal.

At first, the application is filed at the cantonal level, and following approval, it will be passed on at a federal one.

There is also an advantage of using this pathway to bring a foreign workforce to the country: the Swiss company transferring employees no longer need to pass the labor market assessment test.

If you want to transfer employees to a Swiss branch of a foreign company, our immigration lawyer can help you.

If you want to move to Switzerland, you can rely on our lawyers. We are a team dedicated to offering the best results in terms of immigration. You can count on us no matter the type of residence permit you want to apply for. Feel free to contact us and get all the information you need about your relocation options.

The Swiss C permit is the equivalent of the permanent residence one in other European countries. If you want to apply for such a visa, contact us. Our lawyers are at your disposal with a wide array of services related to immigration. You can count on us for tailored services.

Requirements for personnel that can obtain intra-company transfer visas

As mentioned above, employee relocation to Switzerland is available for those holding executive and senior management positions, as well as experts within a foreign company. Executives and senior managers are people with decision-making authority inside an organization, while necessary experts are those with extensive training in the economics or in research, according to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Swiss inter-company transfers are permitted under the following circumstances according to the GATS:

  • the general requirements of the immigration department for obtaining a work permit are met;
  • the employee has worked for the organization outside Switzerland for at least one year prior to the application;
  • the employee is regarded as an essential person;

Alternately, inter-group transfers are permitted under the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration and the Federal Ordinance on Admission, Residence and Gainful Employment under the following circumstances:

  • the transfer serves Switzerland’s economic interests;
  • the annual quotas are respected;
  • the applicable minimum wage and working conditions are met;
  • the employee has adequate housing;
  • the employee is an executive, senior manager, or highly qualified specialist.

The main advantage of personnel relocation to Switzerland through this visa is that the labor market assessment requirement no longer applies.

The intra-company transfer visa is similar to a Swiss B permit.

No matter the way you want to apply for residency in Switzerland, you can rely on our local specialists.

Personnel relocation to Switzerland for non-EU/EEA workers

There are two options available for inter-group transfers of non-EU/EFTA citizens employed by Swiss legal entities or branches of multinational corporations.

For so-called essential personnel, employee relocation to Switzerland is permissible under the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS). Essential people imply:

  • highly skilled specialists whose extensive competence is necessary for the provision of a service of the company;
  • executives or senior managers whose responsibility is to oversee the company or one of its departments and who only report to the board or shareholders.

Employees from third countries who are being transferred often must follow the aforementioned guidelines. However, citizens of the EU and EFTA are free to enter the Swiss labor market and may be hired directly by Swiss companies or sent there by the parent companies.

Personnel relocation to Switzerland enters the attention of our specialists, so if you need support, d not doubt in getting in touch with us.

We are also at your disposal should you choose another pathway to immigrate to Switzerland. There are various benefits related to relocating to Switzerland. For most people who decide to immigrate, obtaining a Swiss residence permit is a mandatory requirement. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for guidance on how to choose the best immigration option.

The Swiss B permit is the first proof of the right to live here obtained by a foreign citizen. This is a long-term residence visa and enables a person to live for up to 5 years. If you want to apply for such a permit, do not hesitate to use our tailored immigration support that covers a wide range of services.

Visas to be obtained under inter-company transfers to Switzerland

Employee relocation to Switzerland implies obtaining a work permit, and the only one to fall under this category is the L permit.

The permit is issued based on the duration of the transfer as follows:

  • L permits with a validity of 12 consecutive months;
  • work visas with a validity of 4 consecutive months;
  • permits with a validity of 120 days per 12-month period, which allow the holder to work in Switzerland for a maximum of 120 days in a 12-month period.

L permits are not required for EU citizens who are working, performing services, or being sent to Switzerland for a maximum of 90 days. This also applies to non-EU citizens who are working for an EU company for at least a year prior to their 90-day relocation to Switzerland.

A deal on service providers’ mobility has been reached between Switzerland and the UK, following Brexit. This agreement is in effect as of January 2021 and is initially temporary for a duration of 2 years that may be extended. It permits self-employed cross-border service providers who are British nationals and have their corporate headquarters in the UK to offer services for a term of 90 days in Switzerland.

Who must apply for Swiss personnel relocation visas?

The cantonal migration authority where the Swiss company has its legal seat must receive a permit application from the employer demonstrating compliance with the legal requirements. An application for a third-country national will be subject to approval from the Federal Council after it has received a positive answer from the cantonal authorities. The process can take up to 3 months, depending on the canton and the workload of the authorities.

Feel free to get in touch with our Swiss immigration lawyers for information based on the canton you want to relocate personnel to.

If you meet the legal requirements for permanent residency, you can rely on us for support in applying for a C permit for Switzerland.

Validity of an intra-company transfer visa for Switzerland

The GATS allows for a 4-year maximum stay for key individuals. The standard regulations apply to licenses issued under the Federal Ordinance on Foreign Nationals and Integration.

If you are the representative of a foreign company in Switzerland and want to relocate employees here, you can rely on our local experts for assistance choosing the suitable type of visa.

Labor market regulations in Switzerland

Switzerland is a special country in terms of regulations and taxation due to its division into cantons. This is why cantonal authorities are in charge of making sure the laws against illicit work are respected. Each canton separately decides how it will be organized in this situation, including how its powers will be administered to ensure that the rules are followed.

Employers bear the sole responsibility for registering their personnel for social security and unemployment insurance purposes. Additionally, employers are required to abide by Swiss legislation, collective labor agreements, and regional conventions, such as those related to the minimum salary, holidays, a set number of working hours, security, hygienic standards, and housing for relocated workers.

According to recent statistics:

  • 1.683 million people of foreign nationality were employed in Switzerland in the second quarter of 2022;
  • 79.2% of them came from EU/EFTA countries or the United Kingdom;
  • the remaining 20.8% came from non-EU/EFTA countries.

If you are interested in personnel relocation to Switzerland and need assistance, please contact us.