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Switzerland is a leading global economy ranked 3rd by GDP per capita in 2023. It has an excellent education system and continues to offer outstanding work opportunities for skilled specialists. This includes for both temporary and permanent roles. In addition, international companies looking to engage top-level executives look to Switzerland as a potential source market for skilled specialists, in no small part due to its market leadership in various industry sectors.

 

At the heart of the engagement process, both for skilled specialists taking up temporary roles in Switzerland or those based in Switzerland looking to work remotely for a foreign employer, is the SECO licensed employment services company. In this post, we examine scenarios where the support of a local professional employment services partner is key.

 

Engaging Skilled Specialists: Scenarios

  • Switzerland based employers often need to recruit skilled specialists from abroad if they can’t source talent in-country. Although the Swiss education system is excellent, the relatively small population means that the pool of a qualified and experienced workforce is necessarily small. EU/EFTA nationals are permitted to move to Switzerland to live and work on both a temporary and long term basis. It is possible for 3rd state nationals (non-Swiss and outside EU/EEA) to be engaged for permanent position but work permits are restricted and are not generally available for temporary contracts.
  • Companies based outside Switzerland recruiting skilled specialists living permanently in Switzerland (Swiss nationals or foreigners with a valid permit). Due to the above mentioned Swiss education system and the attractive life and work environment, Switzerland hosts a number of skilled personnel wishing to remain based in Switzerland while working for a foreign based entity. Typical in this group are senior executives and managers, those working in niche areas and highly sought after specialists. Such people are often senior in rank with a well established family base, who may also be travelling extensively for their work but wish to retain the continuity of lifestyle and financial security, especially Swiss pension contributions. Both foreign and Swiss based companies engage such Swiss based personnel as part of their international business expansion strategies.

 

 

 

 

For both scenarios, a Swiss professional employment service company, licensed by the Swiss governmental department (State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)) is required. SECO is the government department responsible for monitoring Swiss employment practices which include compliance with specialist employment categories, remittance of social insurances and adherence to procedures in the event of termination, work permits and payroll related benefits.

  • For the first scenario, temporary or permanent personnel recruited from abroad to work in Switzerland, the SECO licensed company must ensure that all legal requirements are covered and that rules and regulations are followed throughout the engagement process.
    • Permanent staff must be brought into Switzerland in accordance with the rules of indirect supply; in the case of temporary skilled workers, the employment service provider assumes the risks and responsibilities of the employer:  they become the Employer of Record (EOR). This means they must  ensure that their payroll and general employment is conducted in accordance with Swiss law.
    • Both the recruitment and employment processes are closely monitored and the SECO licensed company is held responsible for ensuring compliance and safeguarding the well being of the employee.
  • In the second scenario, Swiss based personnel recruited to work outside Switzerland while maintaining Swiss residency can be engaged using the ANobAG model:
    • this allows the Swiss  based worker (Swiss national or valid Swiss permit holder) to be employed by the foreign or Swiss company.
    • The client company provides the salary, obligatory pension, accident and social fund contributions, but uses the services of  the SECO licensed Swiss employment company (see below) to provide the necessary advice, information and administration of the employment model. Additional items such as stock options, shares and signatory rights can also be assigned to the employee under the ANobAG model.

 

Choosing the right employment services partner

There are a number of companies licensed by SECO to provide employment services, however the stakes can be high and it is advisable to choose your employment service provider with care. Breaches of employment law are taken very seriously so to avoid negative experiences and damage to reputation take the time to check out what services your prospective provider can offer and the level of experience and knowledge they can offer. this is particularly important for senior appointments and more complex employment constellations. Transparency of pricing and payroll, compliance with specialist employment requirements (especially timing of salary payments) and willingness to engage on a personal level are all good signs to look out for.

  • Salary payments on time.
  • Transparent payroll statements showing employer and employee deductions.
  • A realistic financial estimate before contract signature which allows for holiday time.
  • A good overview of the full value of the contract, including pension benefits.
  • A willingness to answer queries at any stage of the worker assignment.

 

Summary

Independent skilled workers can engage in work for a client company in Switzerland under the EOR model. For those workers permanently based in Switzerland and looking to engage in work for a foreign company, either the EOR or ANobAG models could be viable options.

For many foreign workers, Switzerland is the ideal place to work and live in. The wages are attractive, unemployment is low and the labour laws are fair.

Foreign based companies looking to source skilled experts or even expand their business footprint internationally, might consider Switzerland,  ranked 36 /190 globally for ease of doing business as a base. 

 

Accurity is SECO licensed to provide employment services in Switzerland for companies of all sizes from multi national corporations to SME’s. We also advise on remote work and ANobAG’s. Please contact us on switzerland@accurity.ch or on +41 (0) 400 5585 to find out more about the services we offer clients, contract staff and recruiters. Please feel free to Contact our team to see how we can help you!