Expert Insights

Expert Insights

Swiss/UK secondments – the basics

A short guide to the key requirements to second workers from Switzerland to the UK and from the UK to Switzerland.

From Switzerland to the UK

If a business wants to second workers to the UK from overseas, there are a few hoops to jump through before the secondee applies for a Secondment visa. There are likely to be alternative visa options available instead of this visa that can meet your business needs. The core requirements of this visa are:

  1. The overseas business needs to have a high-value contract with a UK organisation
  2. The UK business needs to have a licence to sponsor workers under the ‘Global Business Mobility’ umbrella
  3. your secondees will need to work for you for more than 12 months outside the UK and be doing an eligible job in the UK
  4. Be willing to pay the visa and legal fees for a visa that can only be used for 2 years

High Value contract

A contract is deemed to be high value when the investment (or contracts for goods or services) is worth at least £10 million per year for 5 years or £50 million in total if the contract is for less than 5 years. The contract must be with an organisation that has a UK sponsor licence. The UK organisation can apply for the sponsor licence if needed using the high value contract.

Secondee requirements

The secondee must have worked for the overseas business for at least 12 months before applying for their visa and will be undertaking an eligible occupation in the UK from a specific list. The types of role eligible are professional positions where tertiary education is required.

Visa fees

UK fees include the sponsor licence fee of £536-£1476 depending on the size of the UK business, certificate of sponsorship fee of £21, visa application fee of £259 per secondee, immigration health surcharge of £624 per year as well as legal fees for advice and assistance with the application.

Next steps

If you are considering entering into a high value contract that will require you to second your workers to the UK, please contact us to discuss this visa option and alternative visa options available to you.

The rules applying to the secondment of an employee by a UK company to Switzerland mainly depend on the duration of the employee’s stay.

Short stays (up to 90 days)

For missions up to 8 days, there is no duty of announcement to the authorities, except in certain areas where such duty starts from the first day (e.g. construction, catering).

For stays up to 90 days per calendar year, before the start of the assignment, the employer must notify the Swiss competent authority of:

  1. the identity and salary of persons seconded,
  2. the activity carried out in Switzerland, and;
  3. the place where the work will be carried out.

Upon request, the employer has to show proof of the mission to be carried out in Switzerland. The count of days is per day of presence of the company in Switzerland rather than per secondee (i.e. if 5 secondees of the company are present on the same day, only 1 day of the quota is used).

Long stays (more than 90 days)

An employee of a UK company can only be granted a work permit for secondment of more than 90 days in Switzerland if they are a manager, a specialist or another qualified worker and the mission serves the general interests of the Swiss economy.

Intra-group transfer

Whilst not directly a secondment, it is possible for a UK company to transfer employees holding senior positions to a Swiss company of the same group when they are employed by the UK company for over 12 months. An employee transferred under this regime can only stay a maximum of 4 years in Switzerland.  

Conditions applying to all types of stays

If the area of work is regulated by a collective agreement, the conditions set out in the agreement (e.g. salary) must be honoured. If no collective agreement applies, the usual salaries and other work conditions of the branch at the place of work must be honoured.

For more information on the above please contact Paul McCarthy, Christophe Levet, or your usual Charles Russell Speechlys contact.

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