News and current developments on work- and residence permits
16 October 2017
Measures against illicit employment
On October 11, 2017 the Federal Council put into effect an amendment to the Federal Act against Illicit employment (BGSA) adopted by Parliament on 1 January 2018. The changes are focused on improving cooperation between the authorities involved and more effi cient use of existing synergies. Labour market controls can be carried out more effi ciently, due to the strengthened communication between social assistance agencies, population controls and border guard corps. Previously, there has been no legal basis for this process. In the future, however, suspected cases can be passed on to the labour inspectorates, the social assistance and tax authorities.
Increase of quotas for 2018
The maximum permits for 2018 increased for certain categories in order to meet the continuing demand for specialists.
• Quotas for non-EU/EFTA nationals:
- 3500 residence permits B (+500)
- 4500 short-term residence permits L
• Quotas for service providers from the EU/EFTA:
- 500 residence permits B (+250)
- 3000 short-term residence permits L (+1000)
Intra-group hiring of services - practical implementation in the area of work permits
In principle, hiring of services from abroad to Switzerland is not allowed. This is regulated in the instructions and clarifications of the «Arbeitsvermittlungsgesetz (AVG)» of 2013, where the provisions stipulate that, in the event of the fulfillment of certain prerequisites, an authorization requirement for intragroup hiring of services may be waived. It was never intended to grant a general exemption from the obligation. By letter of June 20, 2017, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) clarified the instructions and clarifications, as the existing directives led to many questions and the intra-group hiring of services was operated on a commercial basis. The intra-group hiring of services is still only possible in exceptional cases. In practice, the distinction between assignment and intra-group hiring of services is often not obvious. In the case of a posting, the pivotal criteria include, among other things, the authority to give directives and the liability for the posted employee. These remain in case of a posting with the legal employer, the sending company in the home country. The posting of workers to Switzerland is still possible without a permit regarding hiring of services, but does not exclude obtaining a work permit. Our discussions with various labour offices regarding the granting of work permits indicate that, as a result of the clarification, there is currently no change of practice in the area of work permits intended. Due to the increased awareness on intra-group hiring of services, it is not unusual for authorities to ask further questions to clarify the facts. In the case of cross-border deployment, it is worthwhile to review existing contracts and internal guidelines, and to identify possible consequences and developments.