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Old 09.09.2012, 14:54
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Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

Hi all,

I've been reading English Forum ever since I arrived to Zurich a year ago, and I must say it has helped me quite a lot! You guys are tremendously helpful, so the first thing I must say is thanks!

Now, I have a question here, I would be really grateful if you gave me your opinions as how to proceed.

As I said, I came here a year ago to work for a Swiss company. I'm a Spanish national, I work in the IT sector, and I received a 5-year B permit upon arrival, so no problems there.

Now, I have a girlfriend from the Czech Republic, we've been together for five years already, and I think it's about time for us to come together. So, she's already given notice at her job in the Czech Republic that she's quitting. She's a dentist and has already found a job here in Zurich. The intention is for her to start working in January 2013.

The thing is, she will not be coming as a regular employee. The company that offered her the job has as a requirement that she must be self-employed. So now we're taking a look at what she needs to get a work permit.

I've seen that it's quite a hassle to get the work permit as long as you're entering Switzerland self-employed: you must provide a business plan, and have a written letter from at least two prospective customers stating that they will hire your services. Now, the thing is that so far she only has one customer, with an expected income of 5000-7000 CHF / month from them. There might exist the possibility of her going back to the Czech Republic and working some days per month for a dental clinique there. If this happens, then she would have a Swiss customer and a Czech one. But this is not sure yet.

On the other hand, we've been together for quite a long time, and I think it's about time to marry. I've already asked her, and she said yes!

Now, the thing is that I would like to get married around May-June next year, that would be the perfect thing, and I want our wedding to be perfect, since it's a once-in-a-lifetime event (right?)

I've been doing some research, and it seems that here, if two foreigners want to get married, they must ask for permission, and once it's given, the wedding must take place within 3 months from the day they say you're allowed to marry. The permit for the partner can be given at either two moments: when you apply for the permission, or when you actually marry.

So, for her to get her work permit, she could try to get it through the self-employed route, or through the wedding route. But, since she's starting her job here in January, that means that we should apply for the wedding permission in November-December, and marry in February 2013. This is ok... but it's not the perfect thing.

So now the questions are:
1. Do you guys think she would have a rather high probability of getting her work permit through the self-employment route?
2. Is there any way of requesting permission for getting married in November-December 2012, and actually getting married in May-June 2013?

Thanks for all your suggestions!
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Old 10.09.2012, 12:21
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

It is no problem at all for an EU citizen to obtain a self employed permit. It is a right. The financial viability check no longer applies. The checks that are made are more to do with disguised employment than financial viability. With a single client it may be that your girlfriend is considered to be employed by the client (their problem) UNLESS it is the norm to be self employed in that industy.
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Old 12.09.2012, 11:27
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

The financial viability check no longer applies? Everywhere I've looked at, they say that you must prove that your bussiness plan is viable and all these things... so that means that's just some paperwork they require you to do, but that it really is not that important?

And BTW, yes, it seems to be quite common for many dentists to work like this. They set themselves as self-employed, and then they go and work for several different cliniques. Specially dentists that are specialized.
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Old 12.09.2012, 11:58
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

Acido is correct.

One does not however decided if they are self empolyed or not, the SVA tells you on your submission if they see you as such. With one client they will instantly say employed unless she is invoicing every client independently from the practice, if this was the case her projections and business plan should be based on their client list and they seen as an introduction agency as such.

If one works directly for even two or three practices and doesn't promote their own seperate client base and advertising the SVA can also turn down self employment.
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Old 12.09.2012, 14:15
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

It seems very strange that they would ask that a dentist work as self employed, unless they consider each of her patients to be her clients, ie, she is directly billing the patients, otherwise this is just a way for the employer to avoid paying its obligatory payments.

In another thread I was quite optimistic that another EFer would be accepted as self-employed because he had two clients, but he was rejected. Having two clients isn't going help if you are still working IN the employers place of work with equipment provided by the employer.

Does this employer have other employees working as self employed?
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Old 12.09.2012, 15:52
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

The SVA tells you on your submission? But she's going to explicitly get registered as self-employed ... maybe what you mean is that even though she's self-employed, the SVA will consider her for legal effects as just being employed regularly, right?

BTW, her intentions are coming here working for this employer, but, as it's not full time, she'll be looking for other practices to work at. Eventually what she wants is to have two or three different practices, and bill them all for her services.

The practice she's joining is not a very big one, and they only have one dentist. This dentist they now have is retiring in a short time, therefore they're looking for a new one to replace him. This means that my girlfriend (or future wife :-) ) will be the only one they have.

They say that, if a practice has only one dentist, he/she must either own the practice (or have a percentage of the ownership), or be self-employed. The law does not permit being employed by someone who owns a dental clinique and is not a dentist, as it's the case. If there's more than one dentist, then yes, the second dentist and consecutive can be employed by the first one... but this is not the case.

BTW, in case it sheds any light, she's not going to have a fixed salary. She's going to receive a percentage of the income of the practice.
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Old 12.09.2012, 16:16
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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It seems very strange that they would ask that a dentist work as self employed, unless they consider each of her patients to be her clients, ie, she is directly billing the patients, otherwise this is just a way for the employer to avoid paying its obligatory payments.
Not strange at all in the Dental field, for paperwork and tax simplifications it's called a subcontractor in the US. Someone has things that need done; in this case it's patients' teeth, they subcontract to a firm/company.... dentist that's self employed is now a company, and the work gets done and everybody gets paid.

I've been in the dental industry since 1988.... note the name I go by here
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Old 12.09.2012, 16:35
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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...Now, the thing is that so far she only has one customer, with an expected income of 5000-7000 CHF / month from them.
A mouth only has so many teeth. How long is one customer going to keep paying 5-7K/month for her services??
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Old 12.09.2012, 17:02
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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A mouth only has so many teeth. How long is one customer going to keep paying 5-7K/month for her services??
She's a reeeealllllyyyy good dentist!

Hahaha! Just kidding What I meant there as "customer" was the dental practice she's going to be working at. Her percentage per month of the total income of the dental practice is expected to be around that amount.

Yeap, ToothCentral, that's quite the idea, as I've been told. I'm just discovering this wonderful world of teeth and mouths and all these marvellous things
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Old 12.09.2012, 18:00
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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She's a reeeealllllyyyy good dentist!

Hahaha! Just kidding What I meant there as "customer" was the dental practice she's going to be working at. Her percentage per month of the total income of the dental practice is expected to be around that amount.

Yeap, ToothCentral, that's quite the idea, as I've been told. I'm just discovering this wonderful world of teeth and mouths and all these marvellous things
I was just getting ready to help you clarify what the customer base would normally be , thanks for doing it.... if she can split time at different clinics, she could effectively bring in 15 G a month.
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Old 12.09.2012, 20:51
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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Not strange at all in the Dental field, for paperwork and tax simplifications it's called a subcontractor in the US. Someone has things that need done; in this case it's patients' teeth, they subcontract to a firm/company.... dentist that's self employed is now a company, and the work gets done and everybody gets paid.

I've been in the dental industry since 1988.... note the name I go by here
Thanks. I was wondering perhaps this was something particular with dentists or medical staff.


As to the OP, if this is "normal" in her field, then she probably doesn't need a business case, etc. Just go down to the commune and ask them what she should do.
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Old 12.09.2012, 21:02
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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Thanks. I was wondering perhaps this was something particular with dentists or medical staff.


As to the OP, if this is "normal" in her field, then she probably doesn't need a business case, etc. Just go down to the commune and ask them what she should do.
Many industries do it. Boeing, Ford, Audi, ect. all sub contract stuff out to different companies. It's just business
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Old 12.09.2012, 21:04
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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Many industries do it. Boeing, Ford, Audi, ect. all sub contract stuff out to different companies. It's just business
Well, yes. But the contract out to different companies.

I know there are certain professions where people work as "self-employed" but I'm not sure which ones. I thought it was called "profession libre" but I'm not finding too much on google about that. Granted I'm notoriously bad at google searching.
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Old 12.09.2012, 21:07
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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The SVA tells you on your submission? But she's going to explicitly get registered as self-employed ... maybe what you mean is that even though she's self-employed, the SVA will consider her for legal effects as just being employed regularly, right?

BTW, her intentions are coming here working for this employer, but, as it's not full time, she'll be looking for other practices to work at. Eventually what she wants is to have two or three different practices, and bill them all for her services.

The practice she's joining is not a very big one, and they only have one dentist. This dentist they now have is retiring in a short time, therefore they're looking for a new one to replace him. This means that my girlfriend (or future wife :-) ) will be the only one they have.

They say that, if a practice has only one dentist, he/she must either own the practice (or have a percentage of the ownership), or be self-employed. The law does not permit being employed by someone who owns a dental clinique and is not a dentist, as it's the case. If there's more than one dentist, then yes, the second dentist and consecutive can be employed by the first one... but this is not the case.

BTW, in case it sheds any light, she's not going to have a fixed salary. She's going to receive a percentage of the income of the practice.
No, I think if the SVA say she is employed they may not issue a self employment permit as she won't meet the criteria needed.

Is this an actual dental clinic she's going to be working at or something else? I think you/she needs to talk to the retiring dentist to get more information on how this would work and also check with the SVA, if only to find out if they would accept the Czech job possibility as being a second client. If not, there is no possibility she will get a self employed permit.
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Old 12.09.2012, 21:18
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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Well, yes. But the contract out to different companies.

I know there are certain professions where people work as "self-employed" but I'm not sure which ones. I thought it was called "profession libre" but I'm not finding too much on google about that. Granted I'm notoriously bad at google searching.
LOL... being self employed is being your own company. One can sub chapter s and be a corporation like I was, or sole proprietor, you still have a "company" with a business licence. I did it for 10 years in Seattle, there were labs that could smooze the dentists and get them to send work, but when it came to aesthetic work in the anterior parts of the mouth (front teeth), they would send to us, I would bill a little less than what I'd bill a dentist, then they bill the dentist, and the dentist thinks they are great.
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Old 12.09.2012, 21:42
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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LOL... being self employed is being your own company. One can sub chapter s and be a corporation like I was, or sole proprietor, you still have a "company" with a business licence. I did it for 10 years in Seattle, there were labs that could smooze the dentists and get them to send work, but when it came to aesthetic work in the anterior parts of the mouth (front teeth), they would send to us, I would bill a little less than what I'd bill a dentist, then they bill the dentist, and the dentist thinks they are great.
Yes. She will have to set her self up as a sole trader of some sort. But this is not always approved, especially if you are someone who basically goes into the same office every day. It's not easy here as elsewhere.

She will have to check if this is possible for her profession and her visa.
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Old 12.09.2012, 21:43
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

Yeah, but it costs to set up as a company here, something like CHF2,500 to CHF5,000 for a sole trader. And you still have to convince the SVA that you have enough clients to warrant being classed as self employed.

And yop, don't forget she's going to be responsible for sorting out her own Social Security and Tax obligations. Here's what the official www.ch.ch website has to say:

Social security for self-employed persons

If you become self-employed, you have the additional responsibility of providing financial security for yourself and your dependents.

Social insurance for self-employed persons

Self-employed persons must arrange their own social insurance. If you set up an unincoporated business, you are required by law to pay contributions for old age and survivors' insurance (AHV), invalidity insurance(IV), loss of earnings compensation (EO) and health insurance. If you are self-employed, you must pay the total amount of your social insurance contributions. Detailed information is available on SECO's SME TaskForce website or in the Federal Social Insurance Office SME guide. The compensation fund checks whether people are self-employed for the purposes of old age insurance (AHV). The compensation fund requires proof that a number of different contracts have been issued by a variety of clients in order to prevent the phenomenon of "bogus self-employed workers". If you are registered with the compensation fund as self-employed, you cannot make contributions to the unemployment insurance fund and are therefore not covered for unemployment if the expected contracts fail to materialise.

Occupational pension schemes for self-employed persons

Whether you are only officially defined as self-employed depends on your AHV status. If you are self-employed, you are not required by law to have an occupational pension scheme but you may acquire it voluntarily. If you become self-employed, however, it is possible to cash in the balance of your pension fund and use it as start-up capital. As a self-employed person you have the possibility of building up your retirement provisions in addition to old age insurance by making higher contributions to a third pillar (restricted access) account and deducting them from your taxes.

Taxes for self-employed persons

Taxation of private companies

The owners of unincorporated businesses are taxed directly on their business’s earnings. Income tax is levied by the Confederation and the cantons. The owner must report the newly established unincorporated business at the latest when submitting the tax return for the year the company was set up. Further information on taxationis available on the SME TaskForce website.

Value added tax

Value added tax becomes payable when a company reaches an annual turnover in excess of CHF 75,000. This tax must be paid from the collected gross pay but any tax on assets and services (deduction of input) can be deducted from the statement. If you are liable for taxation, you must register voluntarily with the federal tax administration (FTA) within 30 days of the point at which you become liable. You can download the application form from the FTA website. The SME TaskForce website shows which transactions are subject to value added tax.
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Old 12.09.2012, 22:01
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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Well, yes. But the contract out to different companies.

I know there are certain professions where people work as "self-employed" but I'm not sure which ones. I thought it was called "profession libre" but I'm not finding too much on google about that. Granted I'm notoriously bad at google searching.
Aha! No wonder I couldn't find it!! It's called "professions libérales".

"Médecin-dentiste" are listed as such.


Has your GF researched how her qualification are recognize in Switzerland? I imagine that the dental clinic probably has given her some advice on this? Anyway, good luck to both of you!
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Old 12.09.2012, 22:04
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

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The SVA tells you on your submission? But she's going to explicitly get registered as self-employed ... maybe what you mean is that even though she's self-employed, the SVA will consider her for legal effects as just being employed regularly, right?
.
No It's not what I mean I'm sorry to say... Just because you register here as SIP doesn't mean you will be deemed to be... One does not decide if one is selfemployed here the SVA tell you if you are or not; thus if she registers as SI they can turn round and say no you are not you are employed...
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Old 12.09.2012, 22:09
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Re: Partner joining me in CH with a job offer as self-employed

And presumably that would mean they'd expect her "employer" to be paying her tax and social security obligations.
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