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Old 11.07.2015, 17:00
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B permit and working as contractor

Hi there,

I had a few questions which I was hoping you could help me with.

I've been working now on a fixed, permanent contract for 3 years here. However, by mutual agreement I will be leaving the company I work for shortly.

I would then like to go into IT contracting. To do this I'll most likely create a limited company. The thing is because I work in a fairly specific field (IT Service Desk transition projects, like outsourcing a company's Service Desk) I want to keep my options open as to where within Europe I work. So if I take on a 6 month contract in say Berlin or London will I lose my B permit? How long can you work abroad (as a contractor with a limited company set up in Switzerland) before they take away your permit?

And if it means I lose my permit is it easier to get a new one if you've already had one previously? Does it make any difference if you own your own home here?

Lastly, I read somewhere that if you get Swiss unemployment benefits your B permit is likely to not get renewed. Any truth in that? I am assuming if it's just been a couple of months there's no problem but if it's during the whole 24 month period you're covered it would be more problematic.

Thanks if you can help me out on any of this.

Best, Frank
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Old 11.07.2015, 17:45
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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if I take on a 6 month contract in say Berlin or London will I lose my B permit?
No. Where the counter-party of a contract resides has no implications for your residence permit, but ...

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How long can you work abroad (as a contractor with a limited company set up in Switzerland) before they take away your permit?
... it is tied you being registered in Switzerland, and "staying" here. Returning to Switzerland, say, every weekend, is a way of "staying" in Switzerland. (Which implies that you remain registered and continue contributing to Swiss societal duties)

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And if it means I lose my permit is it easier to get a new one if you've already had one previously?
No.

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Does it make any difference if you own your own home here?
Unlikely - it would have to qualify as "you derive enough income from that to survive on your own". Example: You own a 12 room mansion, no mortgage, rent it out to someone else. This income stream *could* give you a permit if it is considered as being high enough by the authorities.

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Lastly, I read somewhere that if you get Swiss unemployment benefits your B permit is likely to not get renewed. Any truth in that?
Yes. Totally true.

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I am assuming
I would not make any assumptions, given that permits are now extremely tightly watched (Masseneinwanderungsinitiative / MEI). If "them" can free up a permit, "them" may be inclined to do so.
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Old 11.07.2015, 18:49
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

Thanks daffy99

There's still one thing I am unclear on though but maybe there's no strict rules on this:

So I am setting up my limited company here in Switzerland, I get unemployment benefit for 2 or 3 months but after that I am working on one contract after the other. When my B permit expires I am in the middle of a contract. Surely there're not going to say your contract's not going to be renewed and your limited company here in Switzerland is no longer valid because 18 months ago you claimed 2 month's benefits?

Or, another scenario, there's a 2 or 3 month gap before I start a new permanent job. When my B permit expires AND I am still in my permanent job, they're not going to say hey we're not renewing your permit because of 18 months ago are they?
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Old 11.07.2015, 20:04
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

As you're an EU national getting back a permit if you lose it isn't that difficult. However, obviously it's better not to lose it in the first place.

Normally a B or C permit can become invalid if you're out of the country for more than 6 months at a time. However, one of the few accepted reasons for putting a permit on hold would be that your Swiss company has sent you to work abroad. The best thing to do is talk to your gemeinde/commune admin office as they're the ones who make a decision about whether a permit is put on hold or not. Explain your plans for your new company, what sort of work you do and ask whether they think you may need to consider putting your permit on hold while you're away. If for example you know you'll be doing a 6 month stint in Berlin and then follow that straight after with one in London without returning to Switzerland they may advise you to put it on hold. If it happens that you do 6 months in Berlin and then have a month back here before doing 3 months in London it's not a problem. Do make sure you're in the country at renewal time though so you can get the forms in on time. What you don't want to do is get set up and then find problems on the permit side later on. If your gemeinde/commune don't seem to like your ideas then you have a chance to modify them before you're committed. As daffy99 said, if you can return to Switzerland at weekends/holidays then this of course will prevent the need to put the permit on hold to start with.

If you're only out of work and claiming benefit for a couple of months I doubt it will affect your renewal. It'll be the long term claimants who'll be at risk, those who have reached the end of their benefit period and are close to renewal time. Even then I don't know that EU nationals would automatically be refused a renewal. Certainly if you have a current permanent job at the time of renewal they're not going to, whether you're working for yourself or some other company.
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Old 11.07.2015, 21:04
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

Many thanks Medea Fleecestealer for clarifying all that.

Yes certainly worth discussing with Gemeinde so's not to get any nasty surprises!

Best, Franke1
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Old 11.07.2015, 21:33
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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Many thanks Medea Fleecestealer for clarifying all that.

Yes certainly worth discussing with Gemeinde so's not to get any nasty surprises!

Best, Franke1
If you discuss it, they will know your not living here, fairly obvious I would have thought.
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Old 11.07.2015, 22:54
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

?

but I am living here.... don't think I said I wasn't!
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Old 11.07.2015, 23:32
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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So I am setting up my limited company here in Switzerland, I get unemployment benefit for 2 or 3 months
Watch out for traps there.

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When my B permit expires I am in the middle of a contract. Surely there're not going to say your contract's not going to be renewed and your limited company here in Switzerland is no longer valid because 18 months ago you claimed 2 month's benefits?
Who cares about the contract? The permit is all about both of the following two things:
- you are in a financially sustainable situation, without dependence on social support
- you yourself reside in Switzerland

The company in and by itself of course will stay. Now, if the company was to hire you ("financially sustainable") and if you were to reside in Switzerland ("yourself reside"), then most likely any existing permit would be extended.

Again, the key to having a permit to reside in Switzerland is ... to reside in Switzerland. If you can prove that you reside in Switzerland, no problem. With permit C, the residence requirement may be parked for some time, for permit B this is not possible.

What does reside mean? You are registered in Switzerland, pay health insurance (these are easily checked technicalities) and actually do stay in Switzerland for reasonable periods of time (this is soft - "Lebensmittelpunkt").

There will be no problem if you own or have rented accommodation in Switzerland and return there, say, every (other) weekend. I am not aware of any specific criteria; I suspect that in cases of doubt, this would go to court and all circumstances would be considered at large to come to a fair ruling.

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Or, another scenario, there's a 2 or 3 month gap before I start a new permanent job. When my B permit expires AND I am still in my permanent job, they're not going to say hey we're not renewing your permit because of 18 months ago are they?
I do not understand what you are trying to say here.
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Old 12.07.2015, 01:08
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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Watch out for traps there.
Perhaps better to start the company once I've got the contract?

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and actually do stay in Switzerland for reasonable periods of time (this is soft - "Lebensmittelpunkt").
What you mean they're "soft" as in not so strict on those periods of time?

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Or, another scenario, there's a 2 or 3 month gap before I start a new permanent job. When my B permit expires AND I am still in my permanent job, they're not going to say hey we're not renewing your permit because of 18 months ago are they?
All I meant was that in all probability they'll still renew your permit if you're working even if you've received unemployment benefits for a few months previously. I mentioned it because daffy99 seemed to suggest they wouldn't renew.
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Old 12.07.2015, 01:53
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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What you mean they're "soft" as in not so strict on those periods of time?
Soft as opposed to hard criteria.
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Old 12.07.2015, 10:18
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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Again, the key to having a permit to reside in Switzerland is ... to reside in Switzerland. If you can prove that you reside in Switzerland, no problem. With permit C, the residence requirement may be parked for some time, for permit B this is not possible.
Wrong, it is possible to hold a B permit providing you get permission to do so from your gemeinde/commune, exactly the same for a C permit holder. The criteria to do so for both is quite narrow: sent to work abroad by your Swiss company, military service or further education. For any other reasons the default answer is usually no so you have to make a really good case to get acceptance. But as the OP would meet one of the requirements theoretically he should be able to get permission if he needs it. If the OP can return at weekends/holidays then the need to possibly put the permit on hold doesn't apply. That's only for when someone is going to be out of the country for over 6 months without any plans to return during that time. As would happen if your company sent you to work in China or Australia for a couple of years. You're not likely to be flying back every couple of weeks from those places just to keep your Swiss residency up. So you can legitimately ask your gemeinde/commune to put your permit on hold until you move back to Switzerland where you will reclaim and take up your life here again.

If you're employed at the time the renewal comes up the permit will be renewed. Under the Free Movement Agreement it's impossible for them not to. You have a job and are not financially dependent on social welfare so there's no reason to not renew a permit. Just because you were out of work for a couple of months at some point isn't grounds to not renew. It's what your situation is at the time of the renewal that counts.
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Old 12.07.2015, 11:55
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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Wrong, it is possible to hold a B permit providing you get permission to do so from your gemeinde/commune, exactly the same for a C permit holder.
I am not aware of any legal basis for this. Can you please help out?

My point of reference is https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a61 which explicitly mentions the Niederlassungsbewilligung (permit C).

To the original poster - the debate that is currently raging here is only about "person does not return for more than six _consecutive_ months to Switzerland". The law actually says "verlassen" and there are so many ways to interpret that in court...

Still the general rule is: To be "in Switzerland" you need to live in Switzerland. Detecting absence is subject to administrative records or well-meaning neighbours...
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Old 12.07.2015, 15:03
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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I am not aware of any legal basis for this. Can you please help out?

My point of reference is https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a61 which explicitly mentions the Niederlassungsbewilligung (permit C).

To the original poster - the debate that is currently raging here is only about "person does not return for more than six _consecutive_ months to Switzerland". The law actually says "verlassen" and there are so many ways to interpret that in court...

Still the general rule is: To be "in Switzerland" you need to live in Switzerland. Detecting absence is subject to administrative records or well-meaning neighbours...
Relevant pages seem to be 71 (B permit) and 81 (C permit) and you're right it does only mention being able to put on hold a C permit, sorry. Still, I'm sure I've seen some threads here where B permit holders have managed to do it. Again may depend on whether you're EU or not, have family here and also whether they've recently tightened up on following the rules.

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/dam...ngen-aug-f.pdf

If a B permit holder cannot put their permit on hold then OP you would have to make sure you're back in the country before your 6 months is up. This may impact on your plans which is why I suggest talking to your gemeinde/commune/canton migration office to be sure of exactly what you can and cannot do before making any firm plans. Each case is different as is each gemeinde/commune/migration office in the way they deal with this.
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Old 13.07.2015, 11:05
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

Would coming back to the country for few days suffice?


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Relevant pages seem to be 71 (B permit) and 81 (C permit) and you're right it does only mention being able to put on hold a C permit, sorry. Still, I'm sure I've seen some threads here where B permit holders have managed to do it. Again may depend on whether you're EU or not, have family here and also whether they've recently tightened up on following the rules.

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/dam...ngen-aug-f.pdf

If a B permit holder cannot put their permit on hold then OP you would have to make sure you're back in the country before your 6 months is up. This may impact on your plans which is why I suggest talking to your gemeinde/commune/canton migration office to be sure of exactly what you can and cannot do before making any firm plans. Each case is different as is each gemeinde/commune/migration office in the way they deal with this.
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Old 13.07.2015, 11:17
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

A few days a week would be convincing, a few days in 6 months would not .

You need to be living in in CH not a casual tourist
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Old 13.07.2015, 11:24
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Re: B permit and working as contractor

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A few days a week would be convincing, a few days in 6 months would not .

You need to be living in in CH not a casual tourist
We all know people who technically live in Switzerland but are flying all over the planet all the time. People working in sales for example. So if the OP has a residence in Switzerland, owns a company in Switzerland and employs himself to work there and then happens to have projects abroad do I not see a problem. Long story short: If you have only one customer and spend more than half of a financial year in ONE other country... well, then losing your Swiss permit is the smaller issue you have: most likely does this country regardless of which one it is want you to pay tax there. As long as you are travelling around, have your "home base" in Switzerland and spend just short stints in different countries... should you be fine.
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