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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.

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.

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.

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.