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Old 16.06.2021, 17:20
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Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

Greetings,
I am a British citizen and have recently arrived in Geneva to attend to a family emergency.
I have a part time job in the UK which I can do remotely using my laptop. The question I have is this: is there a specific Swiss law barring me doing my work remotely for possibly the next few months? I have searched the internet and have found nothing to answer my question. I am not seeking employment or want to work in Geneva. Just want to continue with my part time work remotely until I go back to the UK.

Can any one help with and answer and also point me to the right websites or authorities I can contact for a definitive answer?

Many thanks in advance.
Cameron
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Old 16.06.2021, 17:40
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

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The question I have is this: is there a specific Swiss law barring me doing my work remotely for possibly the next few months?
Swiss law does not prohibit an employee of a UK employer, from working remotely in Switzerland.

There are laws governing the contractual, tax, social security, insurance, and immigration obligations of an employer, and employee who resides and works in Switzerland, even for just a few months.

Would it make sense to take a bit of leave to deal with the family emergency, and then return to your UK job, fully focussed?
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Old 16.06.2021, 18:32
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

Technically you probably shouldn't do it. That said I'm sure lots of "digital nomads" probably work illegally whilst holidaying on tourist visas - no one would ever know.
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Old 16.06.2021, 18:52
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

In that case, how can I find out about legal implications definitively? Is there an authority I need to approach? Could you share website links etc.?


I intend to comply with the law and save myself the hassle.
any pointers would be gratefully received.
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Old 16.06.2021, 19:07
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

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In that case, how can I find out about legal implications definitively? Is there an authority I need to approach? Could you share website links etc.?


I intend to comply with the law and save myself the hassle.
any pointers would be gratefully received.
Ok. I work in tourism, and it is beyond common that guests do some work on their laptop when they are on holiday. Is it technically "legal" to work whilst a tourist - no, but of course it is done, no one ever checks what tourists are doing on their laptops obviously.

If you mention it to the authorities, then you will have a problem, because there is no way you'll get a work permit.

Do a few hours of work a day in you accommodation and don't mention it to anyone outside of your family and you won't have any issues. Don't over stay your 3 months.
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Old 17.06.2021, 08:57
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

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In that case, how can I find out about legal implications definitively? Is there an authority I need to approach? Could you share website links etc.?


I intend to comply with the law and save myself the hassle.
any pointers would be gratefully received.
The point is that you are working in Switzerland. It does not matter who is paying you. Therefore you should apply for a swiss working visa*.

The mess starts because Switzerland has no separate working and residence permit, it is the same (or some compromise on that, like the people living close to the border, but outside, Germany-France-Italy-Austria, they can work in Switzerland, and also reside in Switzerland, but only during the week).

So you have to start from registering yourself, check this page
https://www.comparis.ch/umzug-schwei...-umzug-schweiz
Your parents/family will probably have to sign a form where they guarantee they can pay for your urgent care (quantified in 30k CHF) and for your repatriation, if needed.

* This is the part that digital nomads usually do not care.
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Old 17.06.2021, 09:02
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

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The point is that you are working in Switzerland. It does not matter who is paying you. Therefore you should apply for a swiss working visa*.

The mess starts because Switzerland has no separate working and residence permit, it is the same (or some compromise on that, like the people living close to the border, but outside, Germany-France-Italy-Austria, they can work in Switzerland, and also reside in Switzerland, but only during the week).

So you have to start from registering yourself, check this page
https://www.comparis.ch/umzug-schwei...-umzug-schweiz
Your parents/family will probably have to sign a form where they guarantee they can pay for your urgent care (quantified in 30k CHF) and for your repatriation, if needed.

* This is the part that digital nomads usually do not care.
Don’t forget, they’d also have to pay health insurance - probably cancel out what they are earning! Well it would, but a Brit won’t get a work permit for a part time job in the U.K.
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Old 17.06.2021, 12:46
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

Hi Cameron, I think you need to start with the link below (assuming this is really a tax question). The link will give you information on the tax agreements between Switzerland and the UK. (That is your search term for more information.) There is a double-taxation agreement in place which states that you cannot be double-taxed.

If you have had to register yourself in Geneva, then you will have to declare your income. However, there should be a form that you fill out which states/declares your tax situation (i.e., you are already paying taxes in the UK). You would send that in with your tax filing. In my experience, all you have to do is stay on top of letting the Swiss authorities know your situation.

We are still U.S. citizens, and my husband works remotely for a company in the U.S. We were able to choose which country to pay our taxes because we passed the bona fide residency test. That only applies up to a certain income level (and that's U.S. tax law, not Swiss law), after which we pay U.S. taxes only on amount over and above the limit.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/49/2e...fdbe858ee2.jpg

Once you read this documentation, you should have the language you need to search for the right way to declare your income and tax situation.

hope that helps...
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Old 17.06.2021, 12:53
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

And don’t forget that Brits can only be tourists in Switzerland for 90 days out of 180.
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Old 17.06.2021, 14:39
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

Read this https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...verfahren.html (English)

It appears that British self-employed service providers can work for up to 90 days in the Switzerland, with notification - and up to 8 days without - without a work permit. There's nothing definite about British self-employed working remotely.

Worst case - you cannot work in Switzerland without a work permit, and if you're caught you'll be fined and deported. But frankly, say nothing, keep your head down, and you're really unlikely to have a problem. Boast about it in a bar, and things might be different.
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Old 17.06.2021, 15:07
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

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There's nothing definite about British self-employed working remotely.
Because there is no difference reg. working remotely. Otherwise every big swiss company would have hired people already in Switzerland, with a contract signed in the UK or former colonies, with hourly rate from the UK or former colonies ...
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Old 17.06.2021, 15:44
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

Especially in these pandemic times I wouldn't mention it. There are tons of people working right now in places where they shouldn't be.
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Old 18.06.2021, 11:39
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Re: Urgent advice on working remotely in Geneva

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Don’t forget, they’d also have to pay health insurance - probably cancel out what they are earning! Well it would, but a Brit won’t get a work permit for a part time job in the U.K.
Many thanks to you and others for the advice. I am grateful.

However, I may not have explained myself very well. I am will stay in Geneva less than 90 days. I am not seeking employment or residence in Switzerland.

While here, I need to spend 3 days to attend to a small part time university job I have in the UK. The questions I have are as follows.

1) Am allowed to attend to my part time work remotely while in Geneva on an urgent family visit?
2) How can I get a written confirmation to be on the safe side?
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