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Status of self-employed service providers

Status of self-employed service providers

Certain criteria must be met in order to be considered self-employed. Unfortunately, foreign workers posted to Switzerland sometimes claim to be self-employed in order to circumvent legal requirements, as self-employed workers are exempt from the accompanying measures relating to the free movement of persons. This is known as false, or ‘pseudo', self-employment.

Self-employed service providers must therefore provide proof of self-employment upon request of the inspecting bodies.

Please note that the definition of ‘self-employment' is determined by Swiss law. In addition, if your status is inspected, only your work situation in Switzerland will be considered, not your status in your country of origin. It is therefore possible that Swiss law considers you not to be self-employed even though you have self-employed status in your country of origin.

If audited at your place of work, you must provide the following documents as proof of self-employment:

  • A copy of your notification confirmation (or permit, if Swiss legislation on foreign nationals requires you to obtain a work permit)
  • Form A1, signed by the social insurance authorities of your country of origin
  • A copy of the contract with the client or customer or, if no written contract exists, written confirmation from the client or customer of the work to be performed in Switzerland. These documents must be provided in one of Switzerland's official languages

If you are not able to provide these three documents, you may be fined up to CHF 30,000 and prohibited from continuing to work.

If your status remains unclear even after the inspection, you may be required to submit additional evidence to support your claim of self-employment, such as:

  • Entry in a professional register documenting your self-employed status
  • Number of customers/clients
  • Own work equipment, such as a business vehicle or tools
  • Marketing and correspondence as a self-employed service provider
  • Your own VAT ID

Further types of evidence that may serve as proof of self-employment are listed in the directive on reviewing the self-employment of foreign service providers (available in DE, FR, IT).