Remote work from Switzerland

Hi all,

I’ve wondered about this question for some time and want to start looking for a new job.

I am keen to understand what are the rules for remote work for :

a) Those in Switzerland, who already have a B permit.
If remote work is allowed, what happens when you need to renew your permit.
b) Those who want to move to Switzerland and do remote work.

Thanks for any tips.

You’ll need to specify if people have right to work as well (there are various types of B permits).

[I’ll attempt a guess, but ask an immigration lawyer for the real answers :slight_smile: ]

If you don’t have right to work, I’d be surprised if a canton would approve/renew a permit. C permit or right to work would have no issue though.

Especially for new hire, you’d need the company to apply to use up the quota, I doubt a remote employer would do it, and even for a local employer they would have a hard time to argue why they have a good reason to use the cantonal quota for work permit if people are working remotely anyway.


The thing with fully remote work companies is usually that you’re a contractor and have to deal with all expenses and social security payments yourself. I doubt that a random person can move to Switzerland and establish a business just like that.

Answering to a) - the person is already here:

I know someone on a B permit (EU citizen). He came to Switzerland through a company which has an office here. He’s since changed employers to one which has no local presence. After changing jobs, he had no problems renewing the B permit. I am not sure, but I think, his AHV and other contributions are handled through one of those local agencies who do this type of s thing.

I would say have a look at the documentation required in your case and see if that seems reasonable.

The B renewal process for my friend sounded pretty ordinary:

  • proof of employment (not the original contract) on company letterhead with some HR signatures.
  • statement from the local school that the children attend it
  • copies of passports, new ID photos etc. usual stuff

In summary the process wasn’t any different than mine, me working for a local company.

We are both in ZG where these things usually run smoothly and efficiently.

The citizenship is key here. Quotas are not that relevant to EU citizens. Due to free movement we can enter Schengen countries and look for work for three months or so.

For part b), I also know someone (from EU) who moved here and continued with their existing business. They may have registered a company in Switzerland but effectively all of the business was conducted abroad. This person is a bit of an exception because he was extremely wealthy to begin with.

I also know several people who moved here (again from EU) and started a new business in Switzerland. They are all still here.

In both cases the key question is: can this person provide for themself, will they be financially stable and not be a burden on the system? For entreprenurs there is more burden of proof but it is all very reasonable.

If all your examples are people with right to work, then that’s what I was getting at, for those it’s very easy and there shouldn’t be any trouble.

For other folks, it’s much more complicated and based on what I’m seeing (though BIGCORP tend to be more conservative with those things), even renewal could be complicated.

Yes we are definitely on the same page here, with the right to work (through citizenship or other criteria) being key.

However I’m not aware (I could be wrong of course) of any B permits which would not include the right to work. The “Aufenthaltsbewilligung” is both the right to live and the right to work at the same time. In fact, work (or net worth) is the primary criteria for getting a B permit so it would be a strange paradox if one was not allowed to work with a B.

Caveat: I’m mostly relying on the Kt. Zug and SEM info on this. The permits are a complicated world so I may have well missed something.

The B permits are mostly for EU citizens though.. There are other types too, for instance our EU based nanny had an L permit because her contract was for less than 12 months. A non-EU person might still get a B permit but it can be limited to just one year before a renewal is needed.

Based on how the question was asked (mentioning B), I assume @joker is talking about EU citizens, maybe this could be clarified. In any case, I would approach scenario b) as in setting up a new business or “selbständige Erwerbstätigkeit” (which I think limits the permit types to B only). For instance, setting up a consulting or IT services company which has customers abroad.

By right to work, I mean the set of EU/EFTA countries with freedom of movements. They get a different B permit than 3rd country nationals (3rd country nationals definitely can get a B permit, afaik there are limits for how many times you can renew a L permit at which point the canton has to convert to B, it does matter a lot because L permits don’t count for many things, for instance citizenship). At renewal time, whether people have right to work (EU/EFTA) or not matters.

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There are B permits which don’t include the right to work. A friend of mine worked at Basel Euroairport, and on his B permit it explicitly said that this permit is only valid for the airport (not right to work in Switzerland). But it’s a really special case.

It really differs from canton to canton. Zug seems to be one of the canton where administrative stuff is handled in a good way.

L permit can be extended one more time (2x L permit), after that you will get a B permit (afaik).

The problem with L permit: if you had B permit for 5 years, and then only get a L permit (e.g. you had to file for unemployment, and the canton decides that you only receive a L permit instead of B permit), you completely start from scratch in terms of citizenship. Which sucks.

I would like to say it’s true but I’m the proof it’s not always in this way, at least not for all cantons. I’m in Tessin since 2019 and each year I have to renew the L permit even if I’ve tried to request the B permit. My situation: contractor working through a ghost company and having the contract renewed each year.

If anyone have a link reporting it’s mandatory to receive a B permit after 2 years of L glad to use it with at next renewal :smile:

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It’s not mandatory to give a B, they could also deny the permit. Afaik the law is clear that you’d have to leave CH to get a new permit after 2y.

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This website, that L permits can theoretically be extended for an unlimited time. Still, I would rather trust the link you referred to.

I found another link referring to 30 months ( if you had restricted employment for 30 months, you can change it to an unrestricted employment contract.

If you contract was already renewed twice, you should have more than 30 months now. I guess the problem is the ghost company. Do you have an unrestricted contract with them? Another potential issue I see: if you receive B permit, you can file for unemployment in Switzerland. Which the cantonal authorities might want to prevent.

Checking the official documents, there is no automatic L permit conversion to B after 2 years. I guess most Swiss companies would do it, because of the 30 months (after they would be forced to employ the person)

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Yeah the link seems pretty clear but still my last years in Tessin have been uninterrupted. They have approved my L permit for the 4th time in a row a couple of days ago. When I’ll go to their office in mid January will try to better understand. Your link could be very useful :smiley:

Thanks for the further links. Also with the ghost company the contract is renewed each year and agreed the issue could be the unemployment benefit.

Consider for some months my partner didn’t worked and I acted as a guarantee for her. She received the B permit and I as guarantee still had the L permit :smile:

If you can proof you’re able to sustain yourself without ask for unemployment they will likely provide you the B permit. But the issue is I’m working 100% and they told me what matter in this case is the type of employment

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