The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs in Switzerland (SECO) has issued in June 2017 a guideline focusing on intragroup staff transfers which could in many cases require in the future a governmental authorization based on proven professional qualification and the provision of financial security (mostly in the form of a bank guarantee).
"There is the rightful question as to whether the SECO guideline of June 2017 on intragroup staff leasing is business friendly."
In SECO's understanding of the applicable staff leasing regulations, intragroup staff leasing w/o the pertaining governmental authorization was in the past only possible in selected cases where the collection of professional experience abroad or the implementation of know-how transfer (e.g. the introduction of a new machine or the installation of a group software) stood in the foreground. In subsequent years, however, SECO increasingly noted that intra-group staff leasing was - in SECOs view - expanded into a commercial leasing activity.
"SPVs established by multinationals in Switzerland to operate group-wide cross-border staff leasing will now need a governmental license."
In other words, SECO emphasizes again the principle that intra-group staff leasing can only be allowed w/o a governmental license if it is limited timewise and occurs occasionally or if it serves the employee to be transferred to gain professional or linguistic experience or serves an other specific purpose. Within these limitations, the intragroup staff transfer from a parent company based in Switzerland to a group company in a foreign country - and vice versa - remains allowed. At the same time, SECO clarifies that special purposes vehicles mainly established by multinationals in Switzerland to operate group-wide cross-border staff leasing will in any case need a governmental authorization.
There is the rightful question as to whether the SECO guideline of June 2017 on intragroup staff leasing is business friendly. Based on long-standing industry experience, one can say that multinationals operating their expat business from Switzerland or from abroad have usually a good financial standing and in almost all cases well-staffed and seasoned HR departments which can handle expats in a professional manner. Moreover, expats are usually well paid and incentivized and do not require the increased social protection that the SECO guideline of June 2017 intends to further.
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