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  #21  
Old 10.08.2015, 15:06
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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Welcome to the forum, but do try and be realistic about this please. Because we get a lot of Americans who think they'll just move here without doing their research first.

For a start non-EU nationals are last in the jobs queue so unless you're highly skilled/experienced and what you can offer isn't available from Swiss/EU nationals then you won't make it, sorry. I see from your profile that you are a real estate agent - sorry, but there are going to be plenty of Swiss/EU nationals who can do this so employers won't go to the time and expense of trying to get a permit for you. The criteria for employers being able to hire non-EU nationals is outlined here:

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

As an American citizen you're required to file US tax returns no matter where you live in the world and could end up owing the US tax on top of Swiss ones. Start your reseach on that here:

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

Also to get a bank account here you'll need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send your account info on to the IRS. You want a mortgage or investment account here - forget it. As an American you're persona non grata because these accounts also have to be reported to the IRS and so the banks will no longer allow Americans to have these. FATCA (google and learn) is the cause and will affect your life outside the US no matter where you move to.

And any "foreign", i.e. outside of US, bank accounts will also have to be reported on an FBAR form if the aggregate amount comes to more than $10,000 a year.

Then there's the practical stuff like living here. As already said Geneva is overcrowded and accommodation is at a premium. Most people live in apartments here - is that something you want to do? Starting a family (hubby/partner okay with the move btw?) means expensive childcare which will eat into any extra money you make. You'll have to take out mandatory Swiss health insurance too.

You won't be able to live in France so don't even think about that - again to get permission as an American to do that you need to have a pre-approved job there - not Switzerland - so that option is out. And again Swiss/EU nationals will take precedence on the job front.

And finally - remember not everyone enjoys living here:

Eventually Escaped...But Even That Was Painful!

Many find it difficult and can't wait to leave again.

It's not an impossible dream, but it will be difficult to achieve and you do need to do a lot more research on how it would affect you and a future family than just deciding to move on the basis of one article. Get the book Sbrinz mentions, read the various sticky threads here on the forum and use the search function to find more on getting a job here as a non-EU national, cost of living, schools, etc. Read the various info for non-EU nationals living and working in Switzerland on www.ch.ch and https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home.html (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Hi Medea Fleecestealer,

Thank you for your the inside track! I thought to give myself a year to get everything together for a move this monumental. Fortunately, do not have a significant other right now so that's one less expense for which to contend. I am a licensed real estate agent and I also have lots of administrative experience and am highly skilled at project management, accounting and operations.

Allow me to review the information you sent. I am not trying to avoid American taxes. I understand I'll be taxed twice. Thank you again! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
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  #22  
Old 10.08.2015, 15:07
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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I've been applying to administrative and HR posts. My true passion is lies with NGOs and non-profits and I have had trouble any traction in those fields. I DO believe they may have more qualified candidates in the latter and certainly not the former.

As for raising a family, I am VERY flexible. I just want to breathe the Swiss air.... have any of you read "Unaccustomed Earth" by Jhumpa Lahiri? It is a series of short stories that chronicles the immigrant experience. It is simply heaven! Of course, I cried and more than that, it encouraged me to do as my mother did when she emigrated to the United States from Haiti: it encouraged me to be a pioneer, strike out on my own, create a new world, a new path, a new experience. If I have a family in Switzerland, I will also imbue a diasporic ethos from within and encourage the same flight to their own patch of unaccustomed earth as well.


Thank you again everyone! I'll take your advise to heart! Igt would be everything to me to be able to do this. I must!
You could also look with the UN and associated international orgs. in Geneva if you aren't already. These jobs are quite competitive, but if you can get one, they do not require a Swiss work permit. The downside of this is that, with the changes in the naturalization law, the permit that comes with the UN job will not allow you to naturalize if you wish to do so for yourself or your child in future. At some point, you will have to switch to a job from a local Swiss entity to be eligible for naturalization.

A word about Unaccustomed Earth. Its a beautiful book indeed, but it deals with immigrant experiences in the US. The attitude of the Swiss towards legal immigrants is markedly different than in the US. Many have created their unique patch of existence in Switzerland, but I would argue the road here is rockier.
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  #23  
Old 10.08.2015, 15:18
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

This summer SRF Swiss-German television ran a five-part series on immigrants to Switzerland called "Grüezi Schweiz". Four of the five immigrant families were from the EU and one was a highly-qualified Syrian refugee, a medical doctor. One of the four EU families decided to return to Germany after a year in Switzerland. The medical doctor was struggling primarily due to his low-level of French:

http://www.srf.ch/sendungen/grueezi-schweiz

To give you a flavor for immigrant life in Switzerland, it might be worth viewing. Possibly there's a sub-titled version in French (but I couldn't find it).
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  #24  
Old 10.08.2015, 15:47
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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I hope you do understand those what you find are incredibly high wages is because there is incredibly high prices to go along with that. You should want more then money alone. Also....what languages do you speak and have you ever lived abroad before?

Hello Confloozed!

Thank you for your post! I am not very keen on money, per se, but food and shelter aren't free so I need money for basic survival. It is a seeming appreciation for the quality of life that attracted me to Switzerland.

Aside from English, I speak French.
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Old 10.08.2015, 15:54
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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Sometimes I wonder what the difference is between a qualified Somalian doctor who comes here as an asylum seeker because he wants a better life and posts like the OP's (and I don't mean this personally OP...you are in excellent company)?

Hi Snoopy,

Thank you for your post. I do believe you mean there is little difference and I very much agree. We are conditioned towards self-improvement, evolution, an inherent trait, yes? The only difference being the desire to not just survive, but to thrive.

Many thanks again!
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Old 10.08.2015, 16:03
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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Hi Medea Fleecestealer,

Thank you for your the inside track! I thought to give myself a year to get everything together for a move this monumental. Fortunately, do not have a significant other right now so that's one less expense for which to contend. I am a licensed real estate agent and I also have lots of administrative experience and am highly skilled at project management, accounting and operations.

Allow me to review the information you sent. I am not trying to avoid American taxes. I understand I'll be taxed twice. Thank you again! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
None of your skills make you hireable here unfortunately as plenty of Swiss/EU nationals have these. Unless you're a specialist or fill a niche in the jobs marketplace it ain't going to happen. As has been suggested you'd be better in Germany or the Netherlands, UK too if you can get in somehow.

Not saying you'd try and avoid taxes, but most homelanders don't realise that they're still subject to the IRS tax regime outside of the US. The aim of FATCA was to catch those who were trying to avoid paying US tax, but it was so badly thought out/implemented that thousands of innocent Americans have had their banking lives turned upside down because of it. That on top of the increasing cost of simply staying compliant has driven many to renounce their American citizenship so they can get on with their lives abroad without feeling hunted/criminalised by their own government.
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  #27  
Old 10.08.2015, 16:18
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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Thank you for the advice! Golly, Switzerland seems ideal. Stateside you have to roll over and beg for a job, even if you ARE the most qualified candidate. I sometimes feel like merit doesn't extend as far as it should here, which is one of thr reasons I am so keen on Switzerland.
[snip]
I can appreciate the caution the Swiss display. Here in the states, the extent to which Americans distrust foreigners is beyond compare and rather embarrassing.
It may be caused by racial prejudice, as opposed to "normal" unprejudiced distrust. I (male, white) have found US-americans to be very open.

You should expect at least some of that in Switzerland (CH is an often-used abbreviation) as well - being black (or whatever the PC correct term de jour may be) you'll stand out. In CH much more so than in the US. Though I'm not sure to what extent you'll be hit by prejudice, there definitely will be some. Others may throw in their everyday experience here.

Women earn less here than men, too. Some say there's rational reason behind most of the gap, others disagree. Here as well, others are better qualified to provide substance. Being black won't be any help on that score, either.

As for, do I like it here? Well, I'm male, white, been born and raised. In total I've spent about three years abroad in different countries (not counting short term holidays), yet I wouldn't want to live anywhere else than in northwestern Europe, preferably here. I certainly would never want to live in the USA. Keep in mind though that I'm in a very priviledged position, which allows me to be very choosy. Nonetheless, Switzerland isn't paradise, nothing's perfect.

I've never feared for my life, not even close, wherever I was, so I can't really relate. But then again, I would avoid the obvious problem zones (perhaps that's the main difference? I have the choice). For instance, I was in western USA in 1992 during the riots that followed the Rodney King trial verdict. Due to the riots I shortened my stay around LA to a few days, and made extra sure to stay way from south central.

So yes, I do recommend Switzerland (you'll often see CH as a shortcut). But my position as a white Switzerland-born male is probably quite different from what yours would be.

Foreigners on here are all recommend a certain book the title of which I can't remember. I'm sure some reader can help out, perhaps it would be a good idea to read as a starting point.

It's definitely a good idea to take a peek, nothing can beat that. Weather seems to be strikingly similar in Chelsea, with the exception that there's have much less sun in Geneva in the winter due to the fog caused by the lake.

Learning german woudl increase the range of jobs available. However, learning a language can take a long time even if you learn very quickly. The towns close by the "Röstigraben" (the line separating the german speaking parts from the french parts) a biligual. Since you already speak french, settling in one of those would leave all options open.

OTOH, there are probably many more NGOs in Geneva, not least due to UN headquartes in Geneva (New York is the other one), than anywhere else in CH.

Despite having been independent for (IIRC) about two centuries now:
Perhaps haitians enjoy special residency rights in France? Rents in Geneva are very high, living in France and commuting to Geneva seems to be fairly common. Perhaps worth enquiring.
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  #28  
Old 10.08.2015, 16:20
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

OP, have you been to Switzerland?

If not, you may want to plan a visit before declaring yourself all-in for moving there.

There are certainly great things about living in Switzerland, but one is being foolish if one takes a Pollyanna outlook and ignores the negatives.

Please do much more research and schedule a visit before setting your plans in stone.
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Old 10.08.2015, 16:29
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

FATCA is clearly causing a split between Americans abroad and the US government. A professor in Brussels who studies the American diaspora published this recent article:
Americans Abroad: A Disillusioned Diaspora?

“Tax Cheats or Fugitives”
Overseas Americans’ positive desire to act as representatives for the United States has, however, been dented by Congress’ passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010, and its entry into force in 2014. FATCA, intended to address tax evasion among U.S. citizens resident in the United States with foreign bank accounts, requires that, above a certain limit, individuals must report all foreign financial accounts, including bank, investment, and pension funds to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The law’s backers argue that it will help bring in large sums to the U.S. Treasury by cracking down on offshore tax evasion. Max Baucus, the former Democratic senator from Montana who sponsored the bill, said FATCA is critical “for the IRS to have the resources it needs to root out tax cheats.” Overseas Americans were not the target of the law. However, some overseas Americans have interpreted the law as being based on an assumption in the United States that, as one respondent noted, “No American voluntarily lives abroad for long periods of time unless they are tax cheats or fugitives.”

http://www.migrationpolicy.org/artic...ioned-diaspora

After what the Obama administration has done to Americans abroad over the past five years, I won't lift a finger for it.
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Old 10.08.2015, 17:34
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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I hope you do understand those what you find are incredibly high wages is because there is incredibly high prices to go along with that. You should want more then money alone. Also....what languages do you speak and have you ever lived abroad before?

Oops, I neglected to mention, yes, I lived in England. I was a bartender. Good times. I have a wanderlust and find a complete and total transplant far less intimidating than the idea of a sedentary life!
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Old 10.08.2015, 18:26
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

Hullo!

Just my two cents- I (HR professional) have moved from GVA to Boston, and much preferred living in Boston....so much for Swiss paradise.

Honestly, Geneva is awesome, but extremely expensive. I think we managed well, both working for NGOs-IOS there, and salaries accordingly. In the U.S. we had a much better standard of living on "normal" (I.e. Taxed, and regular) salaries that we could have had in Switzerland. I also realistically see your chances, even in an IO/NGO, extremely slim unless you have relevant experience or internships (or you are already in place in Geneva).

Anyways, good luck with everything ( and now I will read that article that hypes Switzerland so much)...
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  #32  
Old 11.08.2015, 01:17
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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Hi Snoopy,

Thank you for your post. I do believe you mean there is little difference and I very much agree. We are conditioned towards self-improvement, evolution, an inherent trait, yes? The only difference being the desire to not just survive, but to thrive.

Many thanks again!
Well you "groaned" at my post, so I am not sure how that plays out with the thanks...but whatever.

My point is that you are just a more sophisticated type of economic refugee.
The Somalian doctor that lived with his family not far away from where we used to live was also highly qualified and was also seeking a better life for him and his family. Having come to know him, no doubt he would have thrived also given the opportunity. His path to get here was undoubtedly more adventurous than checking in two bags and hitting the lounge before boarding a transatlantic flight to Europe.

Dress it how you will, there are a relatively high number of posts on the forum by people from the US, India and other countries who just want to come to Switzerland because they see better opportunities here than back home. So, the only difference between these "economic refugees" is, perhaps, the level of desperation.
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  #33  
Old 11.08.2015, 01:45
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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OP, have you been to Switzerland?.
I also strongly suggest to compare Geneva with at least one other city in Romandie, because Geneva is really different. One might love Switzerland and hate Geneva. It's actually a common opinion among Swiss even within the French speaking part of the country.

Short version: US citizens needs to secure a job first. Then move. Not the other way around. Nothing wrong with coming over for job interviews on a tourist visa, though, provided one has job interviews to attend to. Easy on paper, a pain in real life. Good luck.
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  #34  
Old 11.08.2015, 11:37
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Re: Geneva or BUST!!!!`

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Hi McTAVGE!

Thank you for your post! This is great information. Speaking French, I thought Geneva was my best chance for employment. I did not realize Fribourg or Neuchatel were optional as well! This is very informative - thank you so much!

My last two places of employ hired lots of foreigners. One was a well established business (40+ years) and I worked in the HR department in which everyone knew what they were doing so it was easy to foreigners. The last place, the owner of the business emigrated from Turkey and mostly hired acquaintances of currently employees. He'd hired one Maldovan gentleman three years ago and through him, four more Moldovans received gainful employment. I found this particularly encouraging.

I must keep in mind that some people are allowed to emigrate, work and become part of the national tapestry. I like to believe I can be one in some.

So long as no more than hard work and determination is required, I will retain this hope until my ends are met!

Thanks again for this information. I have traveled to England, Paris, from Turin to Brindisi and the Greece. I have been in love with Europe since I was a child and could only experience it through books. My heart belongs in Europe. I am in love with culture and the idea of leading a simple life. I suppose one could find that anywhere. Why not Switzerland, I say.

I think I'd be pleased anywhere in Europe, Croatia, Dalmatia, Italy, France.... truly anywhere. I thought Switzerland had the most opportunity. If I am wrong, please let me know, if it isn't too much trouble?

Thank you and again and thank you everyone for your kindness. I still fear reprisal and yet I have received only kind words and helpful critically thoughtful advice.

With all my heart, I thank you!
I can sympathise with you because I would never live outside of Europe.
"Why not Switzerland"? It is more difficult to find a job here, the salaries are unheard of even for Western Europe. Competition is very high.
Keep in mind that you can live in München, Germany (for instance), and have a wonderful life style and on par with what you'd have in CH. Explore other options too, don't get stuck with this plan.
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