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  #361  
Old 18.05.2021, 20:54
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

As I understand it, OP went through the right formal steps: upon arrival he first registered with the Sozialamt, and then lived in rather poor circumstances (a hostel, probably with many beds in one room, each person with their own troubled sotry, but at least a roof over his head, and food) while waiting for a long time as the Sozialamt first rejected his application (incorrectly because, as an incoming Swiss citizen without means, he has a legal right to support from the Sozialamt) and then, later, after some insistence from him, they did provide him with enough financial assistance for him to move out of a hostel and into a shared flat.

The decisions of the Sozialamt(s) are, like everything in Switzerland, executed variably, according to region and municipality, and even individual social worker.

OP was sent to German courses, okay. He may have tried to find work on his own accord. In any case he was sent to work, first by the Sozialamt and then, once someone had said he belonged with the IV, by them, too.

And this is where there are two strands to the story:
  • OP's personal efforts, his willingness and ability to learn the local language, and to work, while trying to deal with something of a culture shock, and with mental health issues or impairments, and
  • the political decisions which influenced building the current structures of the extent to which, and the manner wherein the Sozialamt and the Disability Office have license to send their applicants to work.
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  #362  
Old 18.05.2021, 20:57
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

would you consider different country may be better fit for you ?

Since you have IV - learn something that makes you feel good and makes you some money on the way.

I'd go for sailing and in few years perhaps be skipper on some charter boat or do that for some wealthy swiss family on their yacht.

For a fact I know one person on IV (or early retired - not sure) doing exactly above as it's good for his mental health and has 50foot yacht for himself most of the year (when owner is working in CH).

Get a driving license and do Uber driving ? or assist on some trucks driving supply to shops ( as assistant - not a main driver) ?

Record "audobooks" in English for Swiss children and put up on youtube ?


There is one more thing : Switzerland is about only country that would pay social for someone abroad - I guess you already bit late for it - but for future generations :
https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/de/home...e-ausland.html
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  #363  
Old 18.05.2021, 20:59
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Re: Arrived 10 yrs ago with $150; have since cost the taxpayer almost a million franc

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So what are you doing to get out of this state of taking money from the government?
That's a good question, but oh, hard to do. Especially with mental health diagnoses and a decree of disability.

Integration work / Training / Assessment

Of the people I know who have been sent to work in that way, some are foreigners like many of us on this forum, some of those have been here working and contributing, for many years, others are new, some are original Swiss, born and bred and went to school here, got a Swiss qualification, and worked for Swiss companies.... before they feel through the cracks in the Swiss Social Security system.

Yes, those cracks really do exist, and while some parts of the Swiss safety net work well, it really is possible for a person who is doing their best to find a way forward, still to fall, fall, fall, all the way down.

Without exception, everyone I've ever met who was put through that system of "integration" work, whether by the Sozialamt or by the IV, had had a strong desire to be well enough, to acquire enough of a command of the local language, to have their qualifications recognised (or at least acknowledged) enough to be able to work (even in some other field) and to earn enough to support themselves (and their dependents), and to liberate themselves from needing any further support by the Sozialamt or the IV. Indeed, I think that, to start with, that was OP's intention, too, to be able to find a way to stand on his own two feet.

And sadly, without exception in this, too, they found that during those long months or even years of work or "training" or "assessment", with long months and even years waiting in incertainty and existential fear for the next decision by the Sozialamt or the IV, and then possibly more such "integration" project work, with more waiting for a decree, their mental health (and sometimes their physical health) deteriorated significantly. They reported that that their work colleagues during those months or years had suffered similarly.

From that kind of mix of exhaustion, shame, frustration, loneliness and the absurdity of finding one's strength bled off by the mill of the procedures of the Sozialamt and the IV, it can be really hard to scrape together the energy to try to take another German course or apply for another job.

OP, what do you think could help you, now?
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  #364  
Old 19.05.2021, 06:26
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Re: Arrived 10 yrs ago with $150; have since cost the taxpayer almost a million franc

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Good questions. Mostly no to all. B1 German. Most of the people I associated with were degens like myself. I've also gone completely dark on any social media, or I guess never got on-board in the first place. I don't exist online. Haven't kept in contact with anyone I knew before coming here due to shame.

For the first six years or so I was focused on rights instead of responsibilities. I'm a recovering leftist, you see. Had a couple or three girlfriends but they all eventually realized I was a loser. I guess I was too busy feeling sorry for myself to even think about volunteering to help others. Also lacking in self confidence, self-efficacy/agency or something. <insert further excuses here>

That said, I do like to think I changed toward the end. There was also no gap in activity while on welfare. It was always something, be it recycling, or gardening, house moving/clearing, screen-printing, whatever (integration programs), which while obviously not impressive, was better than having nothing on my resume, as I do now for the IV years.

I like to think I entered the relationship with IV in good faith, but once I realized it was absurd I should have left and tried to find something on my own, since now I have 4 years that are impossible to explain. I couldn't resist the free money. 45k is a lot to someone who had just spent 6 years on welfare. So I take responsibility for that much. I was sure they'd eventually have to take the integration seriously since the alternative would be a pension that I shouldn't be getting. I erred.

Now I feel like any job search would be futile.
"What did you do the last four years?" "Well, you see, IV is a joke...." "thank you. I think that's enough. we'll let you know." Plus I have the stigma of having a recognized disability, that arguably isn't even a disability, or at least not one preventing work, while having gained nothing for it. I also still don't have any credentials. phil and an irrelevant JD. To be honest a part of me also feels like i'm owed the pension, since it should follow deductively from a determination that I can't be integrated. At the same time i'm complaining about the pension, and on the way here today I was skating and fell into this dumpster, and there were some kids filming and now i'm tik tok.... arghgh!
To learn only B1 German in 10 years really shows how little effort and will you put into integrating, because the local language was the first key step on your journey. From your post and seeing how you describe yourself I would think that you really need to see a psychologist asap to get you out of this nihilistic rut of having no self worth and seeing everything as pointless. Until you do that you are never going to move on and build a life.

How old are you? I assume still an age with lots of working years left?

Last edited by Chuff; 19.05.2021 at 06:38.
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  #365  
Old 19.05.2021, 08:13
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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As I understand it, OP went through the right formal steps: upon arrival he first registered with the Sozialamt, and then lived in rather poor circumstances (a hostel, probably with many beds in one room, each person with their own troubled sotry, but at least a roof over his head, and food) while waiting for a long time as the Sozialamt first rejected his application (incorrectly because, as an incoming Swiss citizen without means, he has a legal right to support from the Sozialamt) and then, later, after some insistence from him, they did provide him with enough financial assistance for him to move out of a hostel and into a shared flat.

The decisions of the Sozialamt(s) are, like everything in Switzerland, executed variably, according to region and municipality, and even individual social worker.

OP was sent to German courses, okay. He may have tried to find work on his own accord. In any case he was sent to work, first by the Sozialamt and then, once someone had said he belonged with the IV, by them, too.

And this is where there are two strands to the story:
  • OP's personal efforts, his willingness and ability to learn the local language, and to work, while trying to deal with something of a culture shock, and with mental health issues or impairments, and
  • the political decisions which influenced building the current structures of the extent to which, and the manner wherein the Sozialamt and the Disability Office have license to send their applicants to work.
OP's case aside, it would be useful to have a thread about the steps one has to follow in order to avoid depending on social services or even worse, fall victim to addictions or nefarious characters.
Most here had a job lined up before moving to CH, or their significant other had one, and so they never (probably) had to confront themselves with these indignities. I like that people try to come up with solutions, wonder if they work for folks in OP's situation.
I take it he reached rock bottom and without some psychological councelling and a social network that encourages and helps him find a way out it is extremely difficult. But hopefully he'll find resources for that.
Doropfiz, I don't think there's anyone here with so much patience and kindness, like you.
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  #366  
Old 19.05.2021, 08:51
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

I work with IV, social services and RAV/ORP in order to help people integrate in the job market.

What Doropfiz mentioned is spot on:

"Indeed, I think that, to start with, that was OP's intention, too, to be able to find a way to stand on his own two feet."

I have many had many success stories integrating people coming from different backgrounds and different nationalities. No matter if highly qualified or not.

If there is no intention to get integrated and be a part of society, it simply won't happen.

It's in everybody's interest (person seeking help, and all the institutions as well) to reintegrate as many people as possible.

If there is a major health problem, that must be addressed first.

I believe there are opportunities for anybody who is willing.

Sure, it might mean work in a factory or a warehouse if the person has no qualifications or does not speak the language.

I can't comment on OP case as it would require more info (why Zurich? Why no motivation to improve German? Why not moving to another part of the country? But, most importantly: what did he/she expect when they moved to Switzerland? What did he/she bring in terms of experience, language, etc.? What kind of job was expected? )

There is a huge difference between Switzerland and anglo saxon countries: it's difficult to change career paths and nobody would hire a CEO to flip burgers, that's for sure. You won't see a bank manager who lost his job working as a cashier. This does not happen here.
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  #367  
Old 19.05.2021, 08:59
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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You won't see a bank manager who lost his job working as a cashier. This does not happen here.
Umm, I know one who now works as a busker for the past 10 years or so.

Tom
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  #368  
Old 19.05.2021, 09:11
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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Umm, I know one who now works as a busker for the past 10 years or so.

Tom
Buskers are usually self employed
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  #369  
Old 19.05.2021, 16:25
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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I work with IV, social services and RAV/ORP in order to help people integrate in the job market.
...
I have many had many success stories integrating people coming from different backgrounds and different nationalities. No matter if highly qualified or not.
That's interesting, and rather refreshing to read.

This has not been the experience of those I've met, who were sent on any kind of training, work-assessment and most especially sent to work somewhere (whether in their known field or in another).

In fact, whether they were forced to attend under threat of losing their benefits, or went there motivated and followed the whole programme because they were genuinely determined to get out of the system and become independent again, and whether they were sent through the RAV, the social services or the IV, I have never yet met one who actually then went on to be able to get a job as a result of those measures. Without the sole exception of courses in the local language, they all reported that those work blocks drained their mental (and sometimes physical) energy and caused them to lose hope, and to understand, progressively, that there was really very little hope for them at all.

Last edited by doropfiz; 19.05.2021 at 21:05. Reason: minor grammar
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  #370  
Old 19.05.2021, 18:03
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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That's interesting, and rather refreshing to read.

This has not been the experience of those I've met, who were sent on any kind of training, work-assessment and most especially sent to work somewhere (whether in their known field or in another).

In fact, whether they were forced to attend under threat of losing their benefits, or went there motivated and followed the whole programme because they were genuinely determined to get out of the system and become independent again, and whether they were sent through the RAV, the social services or the IV, I have never yet met one who actually then went on to be able to get a job as a result of those measures. Without the sole exception of courses in the local language, they all reported that those work blocks drained their mental (and sometimes physical) energy and caused them to lose hope, and understand, progressively, that there was really very little hope for them at all.
I think it's all about the attitude, to be honest. Try to make the best out of a possibly crappy situation (like being forced to follow a training course).

Just one example:

One engineer had to follow an unemployment program paid by RAV. That program consisted in repairing stuffed animals and toys.

The engineer ended up developing and building a 3D machine, which he then used to produce toy parts.

Long story short, after a couple of years, and thanks to some help from people who heard about the story, he now has his own (very successful) business.

Now, I do agree that I wouldn't have sent an engineer to do this, but that person had 2 choices: piss off his RAV consultant or go with the flow.

When I talked to him he was "who cares, I get my engineer salary paid by RAV and I do not sit around all day; this is an amazing way to help children, I am doing lots of networking this way".
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  #371  
Old 19.05.2021, 18:46
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

I think what doropfiz and sinking are saying both truths of the system.

If person isn't HIGHLY motivated and go 100% from the start, they'll fall through the cracks.

And depending on the reasons why someone ended on RAV in the first place, being heavily disabled out of psychological reasons would definitely be a serious obstacle to find inner motivation in doing mundane work and work from the bottom up.

Not to mention waiting for someone's mercy, that's really disabling.

So probably good first step of the system would be to do deep psychological evaluation and help people about that first (if needed), before putting (completely reasonable) demands on them to work their way up in working society.
And then be clear in goals and methods, so that folks don't feel it's a mercy but that it's collaborative project with end goal of being self sustainable.
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  #372  
Old 19.05.2021, 18:47
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

I be unpopular - it's about money.
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  #373  
Old 19.05.2021, 19:00
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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I be unpopular - it's about money.
Whose?

I mean, I definitely know about people who don't want to work and enjoy living out of social well fare (or just took it as a new normal and don't try), be it in Croatia or Berlin now.

I think such money could be really enough only for those who never had better.
Otherwise, if you were usual working member of society and had things, and then shit happened, if you're mentally sound, you'll want to dig up to the top. If you're not mentally sound, then yes, falling through the cracks really is easy.

Problem is if the system turns mentally sound people into not mentally sound ones. And process without goal and transparency definitely can crush your soul, hopes and energy.
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  #374  
Old 19.05.2021, 20:15
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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I think what doropfiz and sinking are saying both truths of the system.

If person isn't HIGHLY motivated and go 100% from the start, they'll fall through the cracks.

And depending on the reasons why someone ended on RAV in the first place, being heavily disabled out of psychological reasons would definitely be a serious obstacle to find inner motivation in doing mundane work and work from the bottom up.

Not to mention waiting for someone's mercy, that's really disabling.

So probably good first step of the system would be to do deep psychological evaluation and help people about that first (if needed), before putting (completely reasonable) demands on them to work their way up in working society.
And then be clear in goals and methods, so that folks don't feel it's a mercy but that it's collaborative project with end goal of being self sustainable.
That’s exactly what the system does, though.

If you’re sick, disabled, have psychological or physical problems and are not deemed fit to work, you won’t be in RAV, but you will be helped by social services or IV first.
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  #375  
Old 19.05.2021, 21:44
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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If you’re sick, disabled, have psychological or physical problems and are not deemed fit to work, you won’t be in RAV, but you will be helped by social services or IV first.
Such measures, though, exist for all three categoris: people receiving RAV benefits, those receiving social benefits, and also those who have applied to the IV for help, be it for reintegration into the workplace or for a pension.

This means that people who have already tried whatever they can to get a job, such that they have used up all their RAV benefits, and also those who are physically or mentally ill, but who have not yet been granted a pension, are sent to those measures, too.

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So probably good first step of the system would be to do deep psychological evaluation and help people about that first (if needed), before putting (completely reasonable) demands on them to work their way up in working society.
That's the thing: demands to work may be completely reasonable, if the person is well enough to work. And successful re-integration is possible only if there are jobs available.

However, the system is applied back-to-front, because the assessments take place only afterwards, so that ill people are forced, under threat to their financial existence, to drag themselves through these programmes and only after they have failed, and failed again, and failed some more, is their health finally assessed and, if the IV deems it necessary, given a pension.

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And then be clear in goals and methods, so that folks don't feel it's a mercy but that it's collaborative project with end goal of being self sustainable.
Being in the RAV, on social security or with the IV is, exactly, just that, being at the mercy of a system and the wheels that turn. Fair enough, one might think: if you want to receive a benefit, you have to do with they say. And for a completely healthy person who has managed to maintain their inner equilibrium despite the blows to their lives which made them unemployed, poor, and/or ill, such that they can still go at it with full energy and remain motivated, the system might work. Indeed, these must be the successful cases of whom Sinking writes.
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Old 19.05.2021, 21:45
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

I used to believe, as others have written here, that these work and integration programmes were a very good idea. They were/are promoted as a way to jump-start those who were in shock or lazy, and to coach and encourage those who couldn't find their way, and to guide someone to change direction and show them (and help them to prove to themselves) that something else is possible. I used to think this was a good use of tax money, so that those striving to make an improvement would be supported and soon emancipate themselves and no longer need help, and those who were trying to exploit the system would be wheedled out, or at least made to do something useful in the interim. And with any luck, the inbetween people might be motivated to improve at least some aspect of their lives.

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Problem is if the system turns mentally sound people into not mentally sound ones. And process without goal and transparency definitely can crush your soul, hopes and energy.
This, exactly. It has happened to too many people already.

From the cases that I have observed, not only are the measures expensive in themselves, they have left people yet weaker as a result, and they caused higher long-term costs. However, I'd be interested in reading about the successful cases.
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Old 20.05.2021, 11:28
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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I work with IV, social services and RAV/ORP in order to help people integrate in the job market.
I figured you probably worked for them :P

Whenever you see a ranking of public perception of corruption index, it's always very low for CH, apparently because nobody here can process what corruption means. Through and through this place seems quite dodgy. Above all, campaign finance is intentionally opaque, so nobody knows who they're really voting for.

I came here out of desperation, since I didn't want to be homeless in the US or Africa. Originally from South Africa, I went to the US to study. I've tried to own up to as much as possible and conceded that I didn't have the best attitude after arrival. Let's assume that after six long years I decided to do something about my situation, finally, and exploited an asperger's diagnosis to get support from IV for an umschulung.

So the plan was clear. There was nothing "to figure out." The institution was to act as employment alongside vocational school. IV would pay them to have me as an apprentice.

The first institution did absolutely nothing with me for six months. They were supposed to work with the bildungsamt to get me enrolled, and provide me with work to prepare for it. There were no qualified personnel. It was plainly fraud. They had unlimited, decent coffee and an indoor smoking area. That's it. I did nothing there. Not metaphorically or essentially, but literally. They told me I fabricated my diplomas, so didn't even have them reviewed by enic ("anyhone can print out a fake diploma" - lol). When I told IV their response was, "people who bang their heads against the system end up breaking their necks." So I just resigned to collect money for nothing, which is not integration. Try process that. Think about it. Not integration.

Six month contract. Then another institution, who also did nothing. IV themselves eventually worked with the bildungsamt. I got my BA certified by ENIC so I could do a way up (2 years) instead of the full 4 years, but the institution still had to do their part, which took them 2 years anyway to finalize. During these two years of waiting, unnecessarily, I was given no work. They put us in a room full of pcs and let us just do whatever we wanted. No structure, no assignments; nothing. IV gave us 120 sick days a year, for some reason. Most of us took them all out of boredom.

Anyway, eventually sent to a vocational school with 18-year-olds. I'm 40. Tried to make the most of it. A lot of the coursework was supposed to be executed alongside actual employment, and so there was immediate friction. Presumably I was supposed to not mention the fact that actually I don't do anything at work, and to make it all up for my assignments. Halfway through the semester I got the letter from IV saying that it seems like I can't be integrated and therefore it makes no sense to continue with the program. The institution insists they had nothing to with the decision, but I'm guessing they must have. Either them or the school. "Can't follow orders without question/discussion..." Failed some kind of fascism check? Couple points here, (1) there was no work/tasks to have refused at my "employment," and (2) why is blindly following orders even hypothetically a good standard for employment eligibility?

Backing up a bit, when initially meeting with IV, there was no review, evaluation, consideration given to what would be the best thing to do to get me working. Dude said, you like computers and I see you worked for your university IT department. Informatiker, here are a couple brochures. No consideration given as to whether or not sending me to school with 16-18 year olds would be a good idea. No alternatives discussed or considered. What about uni instead? Or, sheeei, I could have just got an LKW license or something.

Being sent to RAV directly after this indicates that they themselves don't buy the can't be integrated nonsense. So now i'm just rolling with it. Maybe after getting the pension (or at least a decision), I'll focus on employment again. I suggested to the Gemeinde that they challenge this Diskusionslose annehmen von Auftraege bs, but they don't appear to be interested. They will at least be interested/incentivized to fight a decision not to give me a pension. It'll probably only be a few hundred francs and then supplemented with ergänzungsleistung, so I wouldn't even be able to leave, since i'd lose the supplement.

IV could have just paid off my US student loans and I could have returned there and practiced law. I left because I couldn't afford to stay and take the bar exam. Would have cost 10% of what they spent on simply enriching these dodgy companies. In 3 years I had one or two appointments with IV. They just tacitly accepted the falsified institutional reports.

There are a lot of kids actually suffering under this system. A lot more than I have. It's my fault I'm in this mess to begin with, but they're completely innocent. A lot of them with less ambiguous of a disability, less sophistication and cynicism with which to handle these circumstances. Think about them while you're gaslighting me. "oh yeah i don't think they're incompetent or corrupt (having nothing to base this on except my own bias)."
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Old 20.05.2021, 12:20
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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I used to believe, as others have written here, that these work and integration programmes were a very good idea. They were/are promoted as a way to jump-start those who were in shock or lazy, and to coach and encourage those who couldn't find their way, and to guide someone to change direction and show them (and help them to prove to themselves) that something else is possible. I used to think this was a good use of tax money, so that those striving to make an improvement would be supported and soon emancipate themselves and no longer need help, and those who were trying to exploit the system would be wheedled out, or at least made to do something useful in the interim. And with any luck, the inbetween people might be motivated to improve at least some aspect of their lives.


This, exactly. It has happened to too many people already.

From the cases that I have observed, not only are the measures expensive in themselves, they have left people yet weaker as a result, and they caused higher long-term costs. However, I'd be interested in reading about the successful cases.
When I first arrived, while at the Notschlafstelle i met people who had been staying there, at an emergency shelter mind you, for 20-30 years. I got very nervous and thought to myself, "if they're in this position, what chance do I have." "Why are they here? Don't they know their rights?" Then I remembered the warnings I got here that i'll be out on my ass in -15c weather. "NO way, was my response, I've reviewed the relevant statutes."

And they actually did flat out refuse assistance at first. I knew a swiss lawyer who had to intervene, otherwise I'd probably still be at the homeless shelter or worse. Some might argue that, in hindsight, maybe they shouldn't have ever helped me, since look how it's turned out, but there's a reason why just about every constitution includes a provision against capricious and arbitrary conduct by public officials. Including switzerland (although the preamble declares this "in the name of almighty god," who is the definition of arb and capricious). Still, the law is the law. It's unbelievable how it's so ad hoc here, and there's no recourse. Pro infirmis basically told me to go f myself. I get it. I've never worked here before; never contributed; it's quite audacious for me to just come here and stick my hand out, but that's the system they've ostensibly adopted. They should follow it, even if begrudgingly.

In six years working at these so-called second job market positions, only witnessed maybe one or two people getting a real job, out of hundreds or even thousands. We aren't counted in unemployment statistics. There's more of us than most people realize.

I don't think it's the case that a majority of these people want this life. Even most of us who express outwardly a kind of "yeah f the system, do nothing" attitude likely don't even mean it. They just don't want to show weakness or insecurity. Like those dole kids on Jeremy Kyle's show who get brought on for the audience to boo at. "You don't work at all and mooch off the tax payer" "yeah, i love it!" Most won't respond with contrition, even if it's what's felt.

It's still ultimately up to the individual, but the attitude of most authorities and the widespread abuse of discretion isn't helpful.
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Old 20.05.2021, 12:26
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

Hmm, I find it hard to believe that you managed to get a law degree, get yourself to Switzerland and navigate the benefits system - yet in 10 years you can't get a job in McDonalds or similar
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Old 20.05.2021, 12:38
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Re: Arrived in CH on a one-way ticket with almost no money intending to stay. discuss

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I came here out of desperation, since I didn't want to be homeless in the US or Africa. Originally from South Africa, I went to the US to study.
Welcome to the club!!! You're perfectly integrated. Let's move to the complaints corner thread where we all cry about how Switzerland sucks, but we're here anyway.
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