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Old 30.01.2013, 00:27
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Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

Hi All,
I am currently on a Non-European dependent L permit as we moved here for my husbands job. I took a leave of absence from my job in Australia when we moved but have since been asked if I would like to work remotely for them. I would work from home in Geneva and be on their payroll in Australia. My work activities are not value add/gainful activities for any company/business in Switzerland. I will not be conducting business activities with any company/business in Switzerland or working with any Swiss/Swiss based people to do my work.


I have the following questions:
· Am I allowed to work like this without restriction or do I have to change my permit? I've been researching this on the internet without success so it would be great if someone could point me to the relevant official documentation for this (preferably in English if possible).
· I have looked into the requirements for a working L permit and it informs that I need to provide details of my job in Switzerland as part of the application process. Would this be the correct permit type to apply for if I do require a work permit?
· How does the tax work – would I require a tax specialist in Australia or Switzerland to assist me with this?

I have searched this forum for similar situations but they were very old. Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

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  #2  
Old 31.01.2013, 08:33
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

If you work from home & get paid into AUS bank account.... who would ever know?

Legally I'm guessing you would need to get a contract/proof of how much you will earn, take it to the gemeinde who may issue you a different permit (B). You would then have to register as self employed, pay AHV and pay Swiss Tax. Then you would have to organise not paying AUS tax.
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Old 31.01.2013, 08:58
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

Two possible problems:

1) your permit does not allow you to work. You need to check if it says something like "lucrative activitee" and not "sans lucrative activitee" on it. The first means you can work, the second that you can't.

2) Island Monkey's idea of self employment may not work as you might need to have more than one client. Otherwise the Swiss authorities could consider you an employee rather than self employed. Best to check this out with your local cantonal authorities to see what they advise.
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Old 31.01.2013, 11:30
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

Hi,
Thanks for your comments. My permit says Sans Activite. However, does that mean I can't work for a "Swiss" based company/business or for any company/business in the world?

I also looked into the work permit application forms and they ask me provide details of the Swiss company, contract, job advertisements proving they've advertised my job in Switzerland, etc, which I can't provide. I've had my job in Australia for 10 years and would continue doing the same - a Swiss person would need an Australian permit to do my job. So I'm not sure how to proceed with this if I am required to obtain a work permit.

I know a few other people currently on spousal permits working remotely for a foreign company and say that it's fine to do. However, I just wanted to check as I don't want to get into trouble further down the track (when I sort out my tax).

Thanks again!
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Old 31.01.2013, 12:11
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

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Hi,
Thanks for your comments. My permit says Sans Activite. However, does that mean I can't work for a "Swiss" based company/business or for any company/business in the world?
It means that you cannot carry out any gainful activity while residing in Switzerland. Who and where your employer is, and where it pays you are irrelevant elements.
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Old 31.01.2013, 12:14
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

I think you need to check with the cantonal immigration and tax authorities to make sure. It may depend on whether you should pay tax here at all. Not sure what your partner earns, but if salaries come to over CHF120,000 then a Swiss tax form is supposed to be filed and you should show your earnings on that. Do you have an Australian account that your earnings could go into? If so, then those earnings might be considered as part of your worldwide wealth for tax purposes rather than Swiss income if you pay the necessary taxes in Australia.
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Old 31.01.2013, 12:35
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

And as a resident here, your tax liability will be here as well.
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Old 31.01.2013, 12:53
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

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And as a resident here, your tax liability will be here as well.
Actually, I've asked my accountants in Australia and Switzerland about this, and there is a clear separation with income between Switzerland and Australia.

You are supposed to declare any foreign income here in Switzerland as well when you do your tax return, but it has to be a pretty significant amount of money before they raise an eyebrow.

For me, what I have in Australia stays there, and I pay my tax there.
What I earn in Switzerland.... some of it goes back to Oz of course, but I pay my tax on that here.

DOWNSIDE - Being a 'non-resident' you will not be eligible for the "Tax free threshold" and you will pay tax from the first dollar. If it's a significant income, I'd ask an accountant in Oz to be sure about the rate applicable to you.

If it's the Australian company that pays you, and you get paid into an Australian bank account, and then you will only pay tax in Australia.

If they pay into your Swiss bank account....... then I have no idea.


Your case is pretty unique. I would suggest that your employer looks into it as well to be on the safe side.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.
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Old 31.01.2013, 14:40
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

Hi All,
Thanks again for your helpful comments. Yes, any income would be paid to my Australian bank account and I'd pay tax there...everything would remain the same, except I'd be doing my work from a laptop in Geneva.

I'm happy to pay the required tax for both countries and as you've informed, would need an accountant to assist with this as I don't want to be taxed to the hilt in both countries. I've been told by others currently working in a similar situation that Switzerland takes first tax dibs and the country you're paid in gets any additional above that. However, according to "Shorrick Mk2" they are working illegally (??).

I am currently working with my employer to firstly understand whether I'm actually allowed to do my job remotely whilst residing here, as neither of us want to get into trouble over this. However, we've been getting conflicting messages (incl. from the cantonal immigration)...one person says yes, it's fine to do as I just need to prove I have means to support myself, another says, no I need a work permit but when I can't complete the application form (Swiss Company & job contract in Switzerland, proof my job was advertised in Switzerland, etc) they're not able to help or provide guidance, etc. Hence, I was wondering if anyone else had been through this process, what they did, and/or if they had any tips to share.

At the moment it's just giving me a headache...it would probably give an aspirin a headache too
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Old 31.01.2013, 15:49
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

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2) Island Monkey's idea of self employment may not work as you might need to have more than one client. Otherwise the Swiss authorities could consider you an employee rather than self employed. Best to check this out with your local cantonal authorities to see what they advise.
This is not the case if your employer is overseas.


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Not sure what your partner earns, but if salaries come to over CHF120,000 then a Swiss tax form is supposed to be filed and you should show your earnings on that.
In Geneva the limit is 500K before you have to file a return, not 120K.


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Hi All,
Thanks again for your helpful comments. Yes, any income would be paid to my Australian bank account and I'd pay tax there...everything would remain the same, except I'd be doing my work from a laptop in Geneva.

I'm happy to pay the required tax for both countries and as you've informed, would need an accountant to assist with this as I don't want to be taxed to the hilt in both countries. I've been told by others currently working in a similar situation that Switzerland takes first tax dibs and the country you're paid in gets any additional above that. However, according to "Shorrick Mk2" they are working illegally (??).

I am currently working with my employer to firstly understand whether I'm actually allowed to do my job remotely whilst residing here, as neither of us want to get into trouble over this. However, we've been getting conflicting messages (incl. from the cantonal immigration)...one person says yes, it's fine to do as I just need to prove I have means to support myself, another says, no I need a work permit but when I can't complete the application form (Swiss Company & job contract in Switzerland, proof my job was advertised in Switzerland, etc) they're not able to help or provide guidance, etc. Hence, I was wondering if anyone else had been through this process, what they did, and/or if they had any tips to share.

At the moment it's just giving me a headache...it would probably give an aspirin a headache too
I can see that! It would give me a headache as well. If the other spouses are on a B permit then it's not an issue. If they are on an L permit that doesn't allow you to work, you need to sit them down and ask specifically how they are doing it. I could well be they are working "illegally".

After you hear what they say, you either keep quiet and do what they do. Or you sit down with the people at the commune as discuss your options with them. Since it really is a grey zone, they might well just tell you not to make a fuss about it as they don't have a "legal" solution for you.
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Old 01.02.2013, 20:12
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

One possibility might be to work through a local contracting agency. They would become your Swiss employer, and then contract you to the Australian company. If necessary they could advertise the job in CH and do the other paperwork required. I'm not 100% sure but I think it would work. PM me if you want an agency, the company I've been working through is excellent.
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Old 07.03.2013, 11:22
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

Hi All,
I just thought I'd post an update on this process to help anyone else that may be in a similar situation and needed help understanding the process. I was asked by SEC, Republique et Canton Geneve to complete and submit the following documents:
- Formulaire M (demande pour ressortissant hors UE / AELE)
http://www.ge.ch/etrangers-confederes/fr/doc/m4-1-formulaire-non-ue.pdf
- A copy of my passport
- A copy of my permit
- Confirmation of my employment (from my employer in Australia) and a copy of my contract
- A copy of my degree/diplomas
- A job description - this needed to specifically state that my job is in Australia and had no links to any business/company/person in Switzerland
- A cover letter to summarise the above, and any other relevant details

I had to send 2 copies of the above to the address in the Formulaire M. This was then sent to the Geneva Labour Dept (de l'Office de la Main-d'Oeuvre Etrangère) for review. I was told that this may take 4-6 weeks to process but it was reviewed & processed in less than 2 weeks. My employer in Australia was sent a letter from Republique et Canton Geneve confirming that I was permitted to work remotely (for my company in Australia) for the duration of my permit, and that my permit is bound to my husbands.

It hope this helps others as it was a bit of a frustrating process but once I was put through to the right person in immigration, it became much easier.

Many thanks to everyone that provided advice on this forum - much appreciated!



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Old 12.04.2013, 18:08
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

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Hi All,
I just thought I'd post an update on this process to help anyone else that may be in a similar situation and needed help understanding the process.
...
I was told that this may take 4-6 weeks to process but it was reviewed & processed in less than 2 weeks. My employer in Australia was sent a letter from Republique et Canton Geneve confirming that I was permitted to work remotely (for my company in Australia) for the duration of my permit, and that my permit is bound to my husbands.
(I couldn't find a 'thanks' button, so I'm thanking you with this reply)

Actually - the outcome that you've described seemed pretty logical to me, except it looks like the administration had to make it a bit complicated after all and just 'cover' it with pointless paperwork. But that's fine, at least it shows that administration functions and they know what they are doing.
Now it seems like they allowed you to work only based on your husband's permit, which (to me) is not really what's going on.

It looks like simply many countries and administrations didn't yet think of such a scenario or simply didn't have enough people asking that question, so the rules are either not yet written or simply were never forwarded down the administration chain, to local offices.
In most of the countries - the work permits rules and needs for having the job 'advertised locally' etc is simply written for local needs and for local employers - obviously to protect the local work force.

It would not make too much sense to make the Australian company advertise a job in Switzerland (or any other country), among Swiss people, to give them the possibility to engage in work, before they may employ an Australian person residing in Switzerland, would it? But it often looks like exactly that is needed.
I had similar scenario when was looking for information about Canadian system (but they simply didn't ask for permits in that case).
I believe that, in time, with immi/emigration rising in all directions, countries will simply have to adapt - especially if they don't want to push away people that are actually earning.

Anyway, I believe that in near future, I will follow the same path as you did. I'm still not working from Switzerland, but may be soon.
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Old 03.05.2016, 12:45
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

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Hi All,
I am currently on a Non-European dependent L permit as we moved here for my husbands job. I took a leave of absence from my job in Australia when we moved but have since been asked if I would like to work remotely for them. I would work from home in Geneva and be on their payroll in Australia. My work activities are not value add/gainful activities for any company/business in Switzerland. I will not be conducting business activities with any company/business in Switzerland or working with any Swiss/Swiss based people to do my work.


I have the following questions:
· Am I allowed to work like this without restriction or do I have to change my permit? I've been researching this on the internet without success so it would be great if someone could point me to the relevant official documentation for this (preferably in English if possible).
· I have looked into the requirements for a working L permit and it informs that I need to provide details of my job in Switzerland as part of the application process. Would this be the correct permit type to apply for if I do require a work permit?
· How does the tax work – would I require a tax specialist in Australia or Switzerland to assist me with this?

I have searched this forum for similar situations but they were very old. Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

Rachan,

I am in a similar situation (though 3 years down the line now). Could you suggest what you did in your case finally ?
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Old 03.05.2016, 13:29
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Re: Working from home in Geneva for a foreign company

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Rachan,

I am in a similar situation (though 3 years down the line now). Could you suggest what you did in your case finally ?
Did you read post number 12?

It will depend on what your cantonal migration office decides so CONTACT THEM as previously advised.
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