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Old 25.03.2015, 00:06
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I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Just dropping in to say hi. My name is Ben. My wife and I are exploring the idea of moving to Switzerland with our 2 kids. We stumbled across these forums and they seem to be loaded with knowledge! Thanks for everyone's contributions!
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Old 25.03.2015, 00:11
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Welcome to EF.

Tell us more, why the (possible) move to Switzerland?
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Old 25.03.2015, 00:42
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Thanks. We are interested in Switzerland for multiple reasons. From what we have learned, it's a wonderful place to live and it's one of happiest places on the earth. It seems beautiful and seems to have pretty decent weather, in the places we are considering. We want our kids (ages 3 and 1.5) to grow up differently than we did and living in Switzerland, if I understand correctly, will give us the ability to travel to many different places pretty quickly. There are also morality issues that we have with our government here (not that any government is perfect by any means), which is another reason we are interested in moving away. Switzerland has some of the best privacy laws in the world which is another plus in my book.

At the moment we have talked about living in/around (20-30 minutes from) Geneva and Zurich. We were have been searching for small villages outside of Geneva and Zurich that is perhaps, self sustaining. That is an idea that is interesting to us but not a necessity by any means.

All in all, we aren't dead set on it yet. But if we can make the transition with a job and get everything figured out, I think we are likely to head to Switzerland.

Of course, first things first, I think we need to buy some airline tickets and come visit before making any real decisions.
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Old 25.03.2015, 00:58
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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From what we have learned, it's a wonderful place to live and it's one of happiest places on the earth.
That's what I thought you might say …. you might want to do some more research on that one. Just reading posts on here should start to set you straight. Here's one to start you off Stay-at-Home Spouses [unemployed, depressed, bored to tears]

Also look into how easy/difficult it is to get a permit as a Non-EU… and good old FATCA as you're American.

Don't want to sound all negative… but living here is very different to visiting and you need to know all the realities. If they don't put you off then welcome
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Old 25.03.2015, 01:36
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Thanks. It's always good to have stuff like that pointed out. While I hadn't read that particular post, I have seen others like it. From what I've gathered Is that it takes lots of work as an expat to get settled. Appreciate the honesty, however our interests aren't shattered.
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Old 25.03.2015, 08:39
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Welcome and enjoy.
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Old 25.03.2015, 08:42
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Ben, we've seen so many wide-eyed eager and naive Americans come on here saying exactly the same thing as you have - so forgive us as our eyes glaze over while we try to inject a little reality into your dreamscape.

First hurdle will be permission to move here. Are you an EU citizen in addition to being an American?

If not, you need to understand how far down the totem pole you sit. The treaties Switzerland has signed with the EU give any EU citizen the right to live and work here, and Swiss employment law says that an employer must prove that there is no CH or EU candidate qualified and willing to take on the job. So... you are competing against a pool of the entire EU, thousands of folks will have skills equal to yours - and they don't need a permit to work here. Many employers will not consider a non-EU candidate simply because of the expense and hassle involved in the process.

Some of Switzerland's largest companies, those who in the past had no problems bringing qualified foreigners, are now regularly getting requests for foreigner's permits rejected and so have all but stopped hiring non-EU folks, in the case where only a non-EU person is the solution then even going so far as moving the job to where the qualified candidate is rather than try to bring the candidate here.

Restricting immigration has been a political hot potato in the last decade or so, culminating with a vote in Feb 2014 that will be a game changer once in force. The federal government has already cut the number of yearly non-EU permits issued to 6500.

That number includes not only the employee but also his dependents. So in your case, you represent a total of 4 against the quota., another barrier. Using the quota up on dependents is becoming an issue. I've also heard more stories of companies hiring a qualified non-EU employee, but refusing to sponsor the employee's dependents.

What languages do you speak? English language jobs are fewer and farther between - and even where english is spoken in the workplace employers are now requiring a national language simply as a filter.

The Swiss economy is slowing down - there are many folks unemployed, especially in the financial and IT sectors. Switzerland's high cost of labor and the recent de-pegging against the Euro have meant significant job losses. Another barrier to bringing a non-EU candidate here, there is pressure being placed on companies to hire from the existing resident labor pool.

And finally, you are American - that is, a toxic commodity. (I'm an American too - so believe me, I am not saying this lightly.) Because of the tax war the IRS is pursuing against Switzerland it has become difficult for Americans here. Just search for the hundreds of posts on FATCA. An American brings a boatload of headaches along with his blue passport, so in the eyes of many employers we are now at the bottom of the non-EU heap.

Americans can still be hired - but you had better be the best, you had better bring enough along with you to make it worthwhile for the employer to jump through all the hoops and justify the expense.

And then, once here, comes the issue of integration into the real Switzerland. It's a nice place, certainly - but it's not paradise. There are real difficulties foreigners face, depending on the roll of the dice you could find yourselves in very unpleasant situations.

So - take off those rose colored glasses, try to determine if you are indeed skilled, experienced, unique enough to even begin to convince an employer to consider going the extra mile for you - and then sit down and read the many posts on this topic in the forum.

Oh, and then learn German/French/Italian.

Best of luck to you - but eyes wide open.
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Old 25.03.2015, 08:53
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Do you have a job offer here?

Tom
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Old 25.03.2015, 09:19
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

To build on what other have said, including welcome to the forum , here's some links to help you understand what you're up against.

Firstly, what any employer would have to do to be able to hire you and the criteria they have to work to:

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home...zulassung.html

Secondly, the financial/tax side of things. As an American citizen you are obliged to file US tax returns regardless of where you live in the world and may owe the US tax on top of your Swiss taxes. Start your research here:

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Inter...-Aliens-Abroad

In addition, you would also need to file an FBAR form annually for all your "foreign" (outside of US) accounts if the aggregate total comes to more than $10,000 at any time of the year.

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-...-Accounts-FBAR

It is also very difficult for Americans to even get a bank account here nowadays. To do so you would need to sign a W-9 form allowing said bank to pass your account info on to the IRS. Depending on the bank you may also need to provide proof of being US tax compliant by showing recent returns. At the moment a bank account means a simple check account only, no mortgage or investment accounts unless you happen to be independently wealthy to start with. So if you're thinking of maybe buying a property later this would be out of the question unless you could buy outright.

So much for Swiss privacy laws, at least where banking is concerned. Also do not make the mistake of thinking Switzerland is more liberal/free going than the States, in fact there are many more rules and regulations you'd need to follow. I was queried by my township's secretary about the size of our satellite dish as someone had complained that it was too big (yes, there's a regulation about that). Luckily it wasn't, but we would probably have had to change it if it had been.

Thirdly, the language: do either of you speak German or French? If not, then it will be difficult, not impossible, but difficult. Most, if not all, contracts for things like rental property, insurances, car leasing, etc, will be in one of these languages and not in English so you'd need someone to translate for you before signing them.

It's good that you're thinking of visiting because it will give you an opportunity to see the country for yourself. Try to see it not as a holiday, but as whether it is somewhere you could live and work. I also suggest you get hold of a copy of "Living and Working in Switzerland" by David Hampshire. It's full of useful info for both before and after moving. You can order it from your local bookshop or via the Internet.

Finally, further to Island Monkey's post on not being able to settle, yes it does happen. Switzerland isn't to everyone's taste as you can see here:

Eventually Escaped...But Even That Was Painful!

So research, visit and research more into the local costs of things, see if it really is someplace you could live and then start trying to land that elusive job offer. I'll also add, having seen it on another thread, that IT jobs particulary at entry level are being outsourced more and more here.
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:14
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

What if the OP is not looking for a job, as most of the mortals of this forum, but is a wealthy individual that wants to live in CH?
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:21
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Do share on the "morality issues", because you may be in for some surprises over here if you are at odds with the general aspects of the Obama Administration.

Which language do you prefer, French, German, or English?

For IT work, you are, I suppose better off focusing Zurich, though I know of a firm near my workplace that is HQ'd out of Florida, or so I believe.

Next time I see him I will ask for his information, but no promises on actual opportunity.

--- Now, though, since you won't have to master German for working in IT, you face the question of how to relate to your children, who are absolutely going to need to master german if they are ever going to be employed outside of Switzerland.

OK, that was a little overmuch, but international schooling [read as english speaking education] is ridiculously expensive here. In the public schools your kids will be expected to master and mimic Swizzler culture, lest they face a persistent and inimical opinion from even their kindergarten teachers.

So, this means you have to master German.

How much is your current monthly health insurance bill, if we may be so bold as to inquire? Are you prepared for that number to approach, or even exceed 600 Francs/month? That might be competitive Obamacare for the same sized family. But if you are on a company health plan, heh, again, are you prepared for that number to approach, or even exceed 600 Francs/month?

Your housing costs will double, while your personal living space will halve. Likewise with any other consumer habits you might not realize that you are currently privileged by.

Switzerland is great but it is best for those who grew up in the system. They are the ones proudly filling out those happiness surveys, btw.

Good luck, and think lots.
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:26
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

another thread to read, Ben:

To move or not to move........Switzerland
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:29
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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What if the OP is not looking for a job, as most of the mortals of this forum, but is a wealthy individual that wants to live in CH?

Good point.
"I'm rich and I demand to be overcharged!"
CH is the place for him then.
Come on over!
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:35
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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What if the OP is not looking for a job, as most of the mortals of this forum, but is a wealthy individual that wants to live in CH?
Define wealthy.

Each canton has it's own practices around allowing non-working non-EU folks in - as you can imagine the price of the entry ticket varies widely. Pauschalsteuer practices also vary. One should contact the canton one is interested in as a starting point. Or better yet, have your people contact their people.
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:39
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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What if the OP is not looking for a job, as most of the mortals of this forum, but is a wealthy individual that wants to live in CH?
Money doesn't buy everything.......and here we already have plenty thankyou.
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Old 25.03.2015, 14:59
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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What if the OP is not looking for a job, as most of the mortals of this forum, but is a wealthy individual that wants to live in CH?
He's already posted here:

Visas for IT guys

That he'd be interested in any IT job openings they have going. So independently wealthy doesn't sound like his thing.
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Old 25.03.2015, 15:13
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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What if the OP is not looking for a job, as most of the mortals of this forum, but is a wealthy individual that wants to live in CH?
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.... But if we can make the transition with a job and get everything figured out, I think we are likely to head to Switzerland...
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Old 25.03.2015, 15:36
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

Welcome, Ben

All of the above posts must surely sound tremendously negative but, unfortunately, they are valid. You have missed the glory days of the American expatriate in Switzerland by about 5 years.

There are only about 19,500 Americans in Switzerland. Probably half of these are those married to a Swiss person or other EU person. Many are Americans who came here years ago, (during the glory days), and stayed. That leaves about 10,000. Take out half which are the trailing spouses and kids. From that 5,000, take out 1,000 who are university students. That leaves about 4,000 gainfully employed Americans who were unique enough for their companies to go through the rigamarole of moving them here. Could you be one of those 4,000? Maybe.

Multinational companies based here are still transferring Americans WHO ARE ALREADY PLACED VERY HIGH in the company. These are about the only people left who are receiving those lovely ex-pat packages. Many, many companies are no longer offering ex-pat packages and the employees that they transfer here are treated as locals.

So, it is possible to move here but you need to procure a transfer from your existing company. It can be done, but it is difficult.

Last edited by TheSpouse; 25.03.2015 at 16:44.
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Old 25.03.2015, 16:55
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

@TheSpouse Surely, the number of very wealthy Americans that come to retire amongst the other million/billionaires in the rarefied air account for a few hundred as well? :P

(But are definitely not the vast majority as you say )
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Old 25.03.2015, 17:05
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Re: I'm new here and we are interested in moving to Switzerland.

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@TheSpouse Surely, the number of very wealthy Americans that come to retire amongst the other million/billionaires in the rarefied air account for a few hundred as well? :P

(But are definitely not the vast majority as you say )
That number is, indeed, very low. Tina Turner and . . .? The problem is that, in order to reap all of the benefits of low Swiss taxation, they have to give up the blue passport. I would agree with you, the number is probably around 100-200. In other words, nothing, considering that there are 350 million of us.
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