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Old 14.04.2020, 17:16
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Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

Hi new here and did try and find something to answer my questions but couldnt...

So... I am a Swiss Citizen (whole family has citizenship) who is currently living outside of the country.

Lived in Switzerland last some 10 years ago and my German is now patchy...

Due to the Covid issues now find myself basically wondering about what to do next work wise (my own company really struggling) so considering options...

A couple of things...

1. Financially obviously under pressure
2. Two children age 15 and 13 speak a little German but currently in the International school in the country we are living in (Cambridge curriculum)

So now I am considering coming back to Switzerland for a few reasons least of which being medical care with Corona and all... only catch is of course financial.... so my questions are as follows:

1. I want my kids to finish their year on the Cambridge Curriculum... doesnt seem to make sense to put them in a Swiss school for 2020 anyway, I know there are some international schools which run the curriculum so was going to approach an "exam centre" and see if they can write the exams - this is not really a question since I am happy to email them directly obviously and this is the employment thread, so if anyone wants to offer a comment please do...

2. Work... I will be unemployed but SHOULD be able to generate a couple of Francs within a month or two from current networks etc... not enough to live though fully.... I know I wont qualify for RAV since I have not been contributing but what other (if at all) financial assistance would there be available in Switzerland in terms of:

Medical?
Monthly support if at all?

Will I be required to look for a job? Honestly I believe considering I dont speak German and also can likely long term earn more on my own would hate to be forced to take something really small just to tick the box- long term view and all. If Corona issues resolve by year end I will likey be back on my feet but that is allot of "ifs"...

I dont expect handouts, but unfortunately three month ago things were looking great, took new offices, employed and within a few weeks I am now worried about the future from all angles...

I am now looking for the physical safety issues in life... medical, security and I guess to buy myself some time to get back up and running...

Crazy but is what it is... any comments would be appreciated in terms of 2. above...

Thanks
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Old 14.04.2020, 17:31
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

The Organisatoin of Swiss Abroad's website has information for returning Swiss:

https://www.aso.ch/en/consultation/back-to-switzerland

See in particular the section on Unemployment Insurance at this link:

https://www.eda.admin.ch/dam/eda/en/...hweizer_EN.pdf
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Old 14.04.2020, 20:12
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

Welcome to the Forum!

Perhaps it'd help your general thinking on this to read the threads of others on this forum who've made the move from South Africa to Switzerland. For example:

gechoe
https://www.englishforum.ch/members/140820-gechoe.html
https://www.englishforum.ch/search.p...rchid=20125422

CheandDom
https://www.englishforum.ch/search.p...rchid=20125431

roostermike
https://www.englishforum.ch/members/...ostermike.html
https://www.englishforum.ch/search.p...rchid=20125440
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Old 14.04.2020, 20:22
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

For a lot of debate about children's schooling in Switzerland, whether to keep them in the international school, send them to a non-international private school, or send them (with integration help) to the local schools, see these threads:

https://www.englishforum.ch/search2....ional+private+

in particular:

the huge, bumper, heated discussion, mega-thread with many good facts
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...l-schools.html

and
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...l-schools.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/family-m...te-public.html

and these three about teenagers
https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...ns-school.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...years-old.html

https://www.englishforum.ch/educatio...l-schools.html

If you have further questions, please post them in one of those threads, as appropriate, or start your own in this sub-forum: https://www.englishforum.ch/education/ (which has some helpful "Sticky" thread at the top).

A short version, for anyone under financial pressure, as you say you will be: the regular government schools are free, and are of fairly good quality, and they offer language-integration classes for children coming from abroad.
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Old 14.04.2020, 20:32
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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A short version, for anyone under financial pressure, as you say you will be: the regular government schools are free, and are of fairly good quality, and they offer language-integration classes for children coming from abroad.
Even better advice if you know that the international schools will cost you at least 20k per school year (and probably per semester or more)
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Old 14.04.2020, 20:58
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

About financial support from the Swiss government:

The beauty of having Swiss citizenship is that you have an inaliable right to return to Switzerland, always, at any time. And get help here. Even if you have never contributed to the Swiss economy, or have done so only a long time ago.

This is true even during the Corona-crisis. And will be so for your children, too, and spouse, as you say they, too, are Swiss. (If you have other family members, though, who are not Swiss, such as a grandparent, you would have to go through quite a few more bureaucratic hoops, and I'm not even sure whether that's possible, right now, during the Corona-crisis, because the borders are closed. But you'd have to check that.)

You can come here, if there are flights.

Yes, it is possible for a family of Swiss citizens to arrive in Switzerland with zero money, and to be given help. A penniless citizen can report to the Social Services and, after the paperwork is done, will probably be given food vouchers and allocated to a family hostel, in which, depending on the particular facility, one family may have one room, or may have to share the room with another family. See the first few images here: https://www.google.com/search?q=fami...w=1024&bih=481

Naturally such support is means-tested. Therefore, if you have the necessary CHF 30'000 or CHF 40'000 per child for fees at an international, then you would not definitely not qualify. The reasoning of the Social Security office is that a fee-paying school is a luxury, since there are perfectly good schools provided by the government, which are free.

In fact, the cut-off point is total assets of, not more than... I think this is CHF 3'000 or CHF 5'000, and this may vary according to the municipality.

To give you an idea, here are some sample budgets. They are a little more generous than the Social Security office would regard as essential. This shows that a family can live, modestly, for quite a while on 2x CHF 30'000 or CHF 40'000.
http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Familienbudget.75.0.html

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Old 14.04.2020, 21:11
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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I wont qualify for RAV since I have not been contributing
Not entirely correct.

Returning from outside EU/EFTA, a Swiss citizen who's been working abroad for at least 12 months AND can show he's been working in Switzerland (rather: under a Swiss job contract) for six months is eligible for unemployment benefits. From what I understand, your residence doesn't matter, so at least in theory you may even be able to work towards the 6 months while abroad still. Once here you have one year to place such a claim.

The tricky part is knowing what counts and what not, also how many hours you must have worked in a month under the Swiss contract for it to count towards the 6 months.

See this PDF p.8, also for a general "what to do to prepare", and perhaps give them a call for more details.
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Old 14.04.2020, 21:23
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

Would the 15 year old even go to school here? Not sure what age they finish school if not going on to uni.
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Old 14.04.2020, 21:34
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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Would the 15 year old even go to school here? Not sure what age they finish school if not going on to uni.
The cut-off date will be, like everything else, cantonal and municipal. In some places it is 16, in some places it is based on the number of years of schooling.

If they get here in time, the 15-year-old may just manage to get into an integration class, and thereby to start off life in Switzerland with a better chance of finding a way to get an education and fit in. If they arrive later, then it'll be a greater challenge, and they may have to fund more of the local language lessons themselves.
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Old 15.04.2020, 07:27
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

Wow thanks for all the replies.... kind of sobering the nett worth and family hostel aspects.

I fully intend to read all so appreciate the links...

Some more info...

I dont expect to apply for social assistance and then send my kids to a CHF30-40k school... major moral issues with that amongst other things...

I was thinking more along the lines of letting them just do their final exams at a Cambridge Center in Switzerland, so technically they would be out of school for the remainder of this year (because they have finished their syllabus) and just write their exams in Switzerland, then at least the academic year is done, leaving me in a position to decide for 2021 depending on where the world is at. This would have to be agreed locally I imagine which my feeling is I could get away with for the year at least due to the current situation anyway... next year different story.

With regards to living...kind of have enough to get there, live for a few months so knowing full well that I cant put myself in a house for a few 'k per month and then apply for social assistance they may look at me rather skeptically - undertandably I guess! My son would then be 16 so it would likely only be my daughter to consider and business depending can make the call then... does make things a little easier.

Guess would be easier and cheaper to move to somewhere like the UK in this case, but need to make it by the end of this year (Brexit)...

So then keeping it in the employment thread, assume that they would want me to look for a job if receiving any benefits or would self employment be allowed provided they can see some movement in terms of generating an income?

It seems (and this is a question) that assistance would be offered only by being at the real bottom in terms of ability to sustain oneself which again, I guess makes sense...
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Old 15.04.2020, 07:34
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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Not entirely correct.

Returning from outside EU/EFTA, a Swiss citizen who's been working abroad for at least 12 months AND can show he's been working in Switzerland (rather: under a Swiss job contract) for six months is eligible for unemployment benefits. From what I understand, your residence doesn't matter, so at least in theory you may even be able to work towards the 6 months while abroad still. Once here you have one year to place such a claim.

The tricky part is knowing what counts and what not, also how many hours you must have worked in a month under the Swiss contract for it to count towards the 6 months.

See this PDF p.8, also for a general "what to do to prepare", and perhaps give them a call for more details.
Please can you explain... we left Switzerland in 2011... since then I have been employed full time in non Eu country... I contributed to RAV for 4 years I think it was when I was in Switzerland... can I claim unemployment when I land in Switzerland?
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Old 15.04.2020, 08:14
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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Please can you explain... we left Switzerland in 2011... since then I have been employed full time in non Eu country... I contributed to RAV for 4 years I think it was when I was in Switzerland... can I claim unemployment when I land in Switzerland?
According to the information from Urs not as you have not worked for 6 months in Switzerland recently and I doubt that anything from 2011 counts. Normally RAV is calculated over a period of the last 12/24 months
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Old 15.04.2020, 08:17
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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According to the information from Urs not as you have not worked for 6 months in Switzerland recently and I doubt that anything from 2011 counts. Normally RAV is calculated over a period of the last 12/24 months
Thanks... ok! Then bottom line is there is no middle road here... I will be taking a deep breath and making the call once the lockdown/s are over...
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Old 15.04.2020, 08:39
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

Kids will be lucky to be able to sit exams this year. Exams in a lot of countries have been cancelled and results are being given based on coursework and teacher estimates.
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Old 15.04.2020, 09:09
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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I dont expect to apply for social assistance and then send my kids to a CHF30-40k school... major moral issues with that amongst other things...
Well I have never had to apply for social assistance, but as one of the local school teachers my father-in-law (RIP) was appointed on a few occasions to supervise (my word for it) people on social assistance. And it is not something I'd want to do unless there was absolutely not choice...

First of all it is administered locally according to local standards and they will decide on a lot of things:
- If you have any assets which should be sold off first to get cash before support will be provided
- The accommodation that is appropriate for you and your family
- The community work you will be required to do in exchange for this social assistance
- The amount you will need to pay back once you get off it
- The job you must take up if offered
etc...

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I was thinking more along the lines of letting them just do their final exams at a Cambridge Center in Switzerland, so technically they would be out of school for the remainder of this year (because they have finished their syllabus) and just write their exams in Switzerland, then at least the academic year is done, leaving me in a position to decide for 2021 depending on where the world is at.
Well you are right in that things are different this year, but it seems the difference will be that exams are not going to go a head and teacher assessments and recommended grade with be how it goes... so that could be a big issue if your kids are not in a school.

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So then keeping it in the employment thread, assume that they would want me to look for a job if receiving any benefits or would self employment be allowed provided they can see some movement in terms of generating an income?
I doubt you'll be able to claim unemployment in any case... but if you are self-employed, then you are not unemployed, that is their logic and they are there to get you off benefits as soon as possible.

And besides which, if you are on social assistance you can expect to have to do some work for the community in any case - at the moment gardening, shopping for people in lockdown and doing manual work for local government workers (street sweeping etc) seems to be the common tasks in my community.
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Old 15.04.2020, 09:30
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

At this point my idea is (based on feedback here)...

Try and find some employment (part time even) just to take some pressure off... and doesnt matter what...

Work on my own business during the "other time"...

Discuss with the current school to submit remotely considering the move would only be in July...

Technically opening a company (before generating income) is self employed however that is a double edged sword I guess in terms of the fact that.. well.. still no income...

Thanks all for the feedback... will post again when things start moving
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Old 15.04.2020, 10:07
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

Try and find employment and/or be self-employed to generate income is one thing, yes.

And I'd recommend preparing, psychologically, for living very modestly. If your teenagers can get on board in terms of making this work, as a family, if they can be determined to find cleverer ways of cutting expenses to as to make the transition work, together with you, you'll all fare much better. On another thread, (for someone in a different context, i.e. non-EU citizenship), I recently wrote tips for preparing, before one gets here, for lowering one's living expenses.
https://www.englishforum.ch/3170505-post20.html
Sometimes it can work, psychologically, if you agree a time limit, say, two years, after which you'll re-assess, as a family. If you plug (and live out, as an example) intetegration, then after 2 years they'll probably not want to leave here.

If it were me, I'd set my priority on getting the children into school, and ideally local school, asap. Home schooling is allowed only in some few cantons. And other than having passed the requirements for that, it is not permitted to keep your child at home out of school. This is very strictly enforced.

Schooling is mandatory for your younger child. Your elder child is in a grey zone, with regard to age, and I would try to argue, beg, motivate - to the authorities - to allow the 16-year-old to do one final year of school. If the child needs to repeat a year, this can be to his/her advantage, as he/she may be able to squeeze in a second school year. The reason I argue for this is to promote learning German, to make local friends, to understand how things work here, and to increase their chances of getting an apprenticeship (described in other threads) which is a very good route to take in Switzerland. And, if the child should be academically oriented, then those two years will empoyer them to be able to catch up on a gymnasium (= university entrance school), by a slightly circuitous route, afterwards (as a young adult).

If you can find a way, in addition to, but not instead of, local school, for them to be allowed to write their exams in the existing Cambridge system, then that'd be an extra bonus.

Since you already speak German, you seem to be intending to settle in a German-speaking canton. In that case, your children (and spouse, if you have one) should learn German, learn German, learn German, as much as possible, before you get here.
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Old 15.04.2020, 10:09
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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Will I be required to look for a job? Honestly I believe considering I dont speak German and also can likely long term earn more on my own would hate to be forced to take something really small just to tick the box- long term view and all. If Corona issues resolve by year end I will likey be back on my feet but that is allot of "ifs"...

I dont expect handouts,
Social assistance is there for people in times of need when they are unable to work or struggling to find work. I understand that maybe your situation is a time of need initially, but if you are able to work (and it sounds like you are), you better believe that you should take ANY job that you can as soon as you get it. Otherwise it sounds exactly like you do expect a handout until you get what you want.

Pffff... most of us on this forum moved to this country unable to speak the language and are grateful for any and all work we have received. My father's business went bust in '08 and he has spent what should be his retirement years doing menial jobs just to stay afloat...that's life.
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Old 15.04.2020, 10:18
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

No-one can force you, Falafel, to do anything. If you can survive without working, or without working full-time, so much the better for you.

I agree with Susie, that it's best to be grateful for any and all work you can find. I think you've got that, though.
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Try and find some employment (part time even) just to take some pressure off... and doesnt matter what...

Work on my own business during the "other time"...
Also, you've made your ethical position clear, so I like that:
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I dont expect to apply for social assistance and then send my kids to a CHF30-40k school... major moral issues with that ...
It seems to me that if you - and family - can get your heads around things being very different from what you've had, and are willing to go through a transition period of uncertainty and perhaps quite a severe disruption, but want to make it work, then you could make it.

If you've been predominantly self-employed, then you'll also have to do the mental shift back towards being an employee, at least for a phase.

Is is just you and the two children? Or do you have a spouse, and does he/she have employment prospects?

Last edited by doropfiz; 22.05.2020 at 01:11. Reason: adding another quote of Falafel, typo
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Old 15.04.2020, 10:36
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Re: Landing in Switzerland as Unemployed

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Wow thanks for all the replies.... kind of sobering the nett worth and family hostel aspects.

I fully intend to read all so appreciate the links...

Some more info...

I dont expect to apply for social assistance and then send my kids to a CHF30-40k school... major moral issues with that amongst other things...

I was thinking more along the lines of letting them just do their final exams at a Cambridge Center in Switzerland, so technically they would be out of school for the remainder of this year (because they have finished their syllabus) and just write their exams in Switzerland, then at least the academic year is done, leaving me in a position to decide for 2021 depending on where the world is at. This would have to be agreed locally I imagine which my feeling is I could get away with for the year at least due to the current situation anyway... next year different story.

With regards to living...kind of have enough to get there, live for a few months so knowing full well that I cant put myself in a house for a few 'k per month and then apply for social assistance they may look at me rather skeptically - undertandably I guess! My son would then be 16 so it would likely only be my daughter to consider and business depending can make the call then... does make things a little easier.

Guess would be easier and cheaper to move to somewhere like the UK in this case, but need to make it by the end of this year (Brexit)...

So then keeping it in the employment thread, assume that they would want me to look for a job if receiving any benefits or would self employment be allowed provided they can see some movement in terms of generating an income?

It seems (and this is a question) that assistance would be offered only by being at the real bottom in terms of ability to sustain oneself which again, I guess makes sense...
Why the UK is easier than Switzerland? Do you think it will be easier to find a job there or you have friends in the UK?
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