What is the change? Swiss authorities have clarified how they will apply an exemption that allows foreign nationals to work in Switzerland for eight days per calendar year without work permits or registration requirements.

What does the change mean? Previously, it was unclear whether the eight days counted against each individual or also against each assigning company. Authorities have now clarified that for assignments from outside the EU/EFTA area, the exemption is available on an individual basis. For assignments from within the EU/EFTA, the eight-day exemption will be counted against each individual and their assigning company.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permit exemptions.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals working in Switzerland on short-term work assignments and companies that assign workers to Switzerland.
  • Business impact: Companies sending employees to Switzerland from within the EU/EFTA area will be more limited in their use of the exemption and thus will have to register more employees.

Background: Switzerland generally permits foreign nationals to work in Switzerland for up to eight days before they must obtain a work permit or be registered online.

Under recently clarified rules, the way the eight days will be counted depends on the country from which the employee is sent (regardless of the employee’s nationality).

For employees assigned from outside the EU/EFTA area (regardless of their nationality), the exemption applies to individuals. This means that they are permitted to work in Switzerland for eight days per calendar year before they are required to obtain a work permit, without limitation on the number of employees from the company using the exemption during the year.

For employees assigned from within the EU/EFTA area (regardless of their nationality and including non-EU/EFTA nationals who have lived in the EU/EFTA area for at least 12 months prior to the assignment), the exemption applies not only to individuals but also to assigning companies. This means that assigning companies can send one or more employees to Switzerland at the same time for up to eight days. However, once eight days are consumed, the company must register those employees and all other employees sent to Switzerland for the remainder of the year. Once registered, these employees can work for up to 90 days per calendar year (which also is counted per assigning company) before they must obtain a work permit.

BAL Analysis: While the rule will have the effect of requiring more employees sent from within the EU/EFTA to register in Switzerland, the online registration process is already in place for them, making it relatively easy for them to notify authorities of short-term work assignments compared to those sent from outside the EU/EFTA.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Switzerland. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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