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Old 11.09.2016, 12:33
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Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Hi
Looking for any advice re moving to Zurich. We are a family of 7, (2 adults, 3 teenagers and my parents elderly with health issues).

Husband relocating from london for work. Need to make the move as easy as possible so any advice helpful. Particularly re housing, shopping, health, driving, sports for kids, schools, rules!!

Thanks
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Old 11.09.2016, 12:40
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

first thing that comes in mind is how to bring the parents. i think their permits should be dependent on yours.
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Old 11.09.2016, 12:47
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know

Welcome to the Forum.
Here it is a beautiful sunny morning.
That means that there will not be three hundred replies telling you to check out various sections of the forum for the information you need.
Maybe just me.
As said in previous post, rulings on bringing parents are maybe one of the first things you need to check on. Schooling may be the next headache. Check threads in the education section.
There is loads of info on health things too.

I'm off out to enjoy the fresh air now...

P.S. THe sticky threads towards the top of each sub-forum have masses of information in them with links to helpful threads. Well worth wading through. It may take you quite a lot of time, but it saves ours.

P.P.S. If you post your questions in the correct sub-forum, with relevant information from your side, you'll maybe trip over threads asking very similar questions there.
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Old 11.09.2016, 16:56
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Welcome! It sounds like a big change and I wish you luck.

Responding to the thread's title, and in addition to what Longbyt said, you need to know how to use the search function.

Sorry if this all sounds too pointed; if you follow the forum long enough to become a regular you will either understand, impress everybody with you willingness to answer the same vague questions every week, or both.
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Old 11.09.2016, 17:00
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know

Thanks
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Old 11.09.2016, 17:14
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know

Although it is about moving to Basel, not to Zurich, I'd recommend you work through Kayakdad's huge thread (and the ones to which it links) about relocating to Switzerland.

Budget For Family of 4 in Basel

also this thread:
What lifestyle will we have

Although both these thread start out as being about money (which is not what you asked), they end up encompassing a wide range of opinions about what it means to live in Switzerland.

My own advice would be to get started learning German - all of you - as much as you can! And hit the ground here running, as in ready to register in a German language course. Of course it is possible to live here speaking only English, and many people do, but from my experience, I'd say that every area of my daily life became easier the better my command of German, spoken, read and written.

Well done, in any case, for being willing to look before you leap!
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Old 11.09.2016, 17:39
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Welcome to the Forum. I imagine you have lots of questions, and there are probably some you don't even know yet to ask. You haven't given us much info to go on, so I'll take a shot in the dark at some basics.

First - permits to live and work here. This shouldn't be a problem for you, your husband, and your children assuming he makes enough to support you all. However your parents will either have to be your dependents (quite a bit of paperwork) or will need to have sufficient financial means to get permits of their own. You/they will need to demonstrate that they will not need social help, or permits won't be granted.

Then there's language - how well do any of you speak German, French or Italian (the official languages of Switzerland)? Although one can get by with English fairly well, most contracts will be in an official language. In terms of medical care, I've had good luck with finding doctors that speak English, but many times the staff in the office don't have the same skill level and I need to use my bad German. All the paperwork from the doctors and hospitals has been in German. Tax forms are in German. You get the idea.

Then there's schooling - I'll leave it to the experts to go into detail, but moving with teens could be a challenge. Local schools will be free, but at those ages international schools might be a better bet unless the younger two already speak German. Compulsory schooling ends at 16, so you'll need to sort something for your oldest. If your husband's company helps pay for international schools, that would be great.

With respect to the parents, are they familiar with Switzerland? Do they speak German? How will they make friends and keep from getting depressed? How will you cover the medical costs since Switzerland doesn't have anything like the NHS?

You don't have to tell your life story here if you don't want to, but a bit more info might help us point you in the right direction to some threads with helpful info.
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Old 11.09.2016, 20:20
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Welcome.

This forum is a superb repository of all the info you need to know (and quite a lot you don't). But in some ways there is too much to wade through in order to find your specific answers. So don't be afraid to ask, as long as you have read through the stickies in the right sections first. They are well worth the time spent.

As mentioned by others, you big issue will be the dependent parents. They will have to prove they can support themselves, or that you can support them, in order to get a permit.

Your second big issue will be housing. No idea if you all share one property now but Zurich accommodation can be eye wateringly expensive. A relatively simple one bed flat near the city can easily be 2.5k a month. A house for 7? Gasp! And if you need two properties...

The further out you live, the cheaper rent may be but the longer commute times and travel costs may negate this.

And finally... My experience is that living here costs roughly twice what it would in the UK (although I'm from the poverty stricken north, so your mileage may vary!). Remember that when you look at that tempting salary in CHF that's double the number he gets now in £££s. My rule of thumb is you need double plus 10% to just stand still. So every £10k requires approx 22k CHF. That does assume you have to pay for the odd flight home as well.

Others will disagree with my numbers, I am sure. But it is my rule of thumb.

Tax will take about 40% of the gross (similar to UK) but the big unexpected expense is health insurance which is a) mandatory and b) paid out of taxed income. You have 7 of those to pay for.

Anyway, good luck.

Regards


Ian
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Old 11.09.2016, 22:44
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

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Welcome.


Tax will take about 40% of the gross (similar to UK)
WTF? The highest tax at source in Zurich is 32.64% for a single person, no kids earning over CHF 1.2m a year and paying church tax.

Doubling the EF standard of CHF 120k to CHF 240k for married with 3 kids and no church tax is 11.45%. Social deductions of approx. 7% and pension contribution of 10% and still less than 30% all in. Earning 120k would see tax at a whopping 3%, but isn't realistically going to be enough to pay for 7 people.
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Old 11.09.2016, 22:49
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

It could be, of course, that the parents have their own source of income, such that the man earning a salary would not have to support them, or not fully. We don't know that yet.
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Old 12.09.2016, 00:55
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Yes, the actual tax portion is lower than the 40% I quoted. It is hard to calculate because its based on individual circumstances, where you live, etc. But for the first year the bastard taxman will probably take it at source like he does from me. And he takes big to make sure he is not out of pocket.

I am expecting a nice fat refund in a few years, but right now it hurts. That level of deductions I was not expecting before I arrived. Can't query it until March 17 for 16 tax year, and refunds take 18 months apparently.

The "tax take" percent I quoted also includes a guesstimate for my cost of paying for health cover, because to my mind if it's not discretionary therefore it must be considered a tax. And in the UK it comes out of your tax/NI payments. I also included the required pillars 1 and 2 under the same logic.

Regardless of the accuracy of my actual numbers, the point is the same. You will need more money than you think, and will get less than you expected. With 7 of you, that could be crucial.

Regards


Ian
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Old 12.09.2016, 09:28
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

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Yes, the actual tax portion is lower than the 40% I quoted. It is hard to calculate because its based on individual circumstances, where you live, etc. But for the first year the bastard taxman will probably take it at source like he does from me. And he takes big to make sure he is not out of pocket.

I am expecting a nice fat refund in a few years, but right now it hurts. That level of deductions I was not expecting before I arrived. Can't query it until March 17 for 16 tax year, and refunds take 18 months apparently.

The "tax take" percent I quoted also includes a guesstimate for my cost of paying for health cover, because to my mind if it's not discretionary therefore it must be considered a tax. And in the UK it comes out of your tax/NI payments. I also included the required pillars 1 and 2 under the same logic.

Regardless of the accuracy of my actual numbers, the point is the same. You will need more money than you think, and will get less than you expected. With 7 of you, that could be crucial.

Regards


Ian
Again quite a lot of what you post is wrong.

Tax at source is calculated at the average rate across the canton for the 'average' person within the category (single/married, no of kids). This means that if you live in Rüschlikon, you are likely to get a refund, but if you live in Zurich City or Winterthur, you will likely have more to pay. There's nothing about taking big. Everyone pays the same rate. The only times you will be end up overpaying are when you receive more in a month than your average eg relocation allowance, bonus, 13th month salary. As you say though, you will get this back and with more interest than if you had kept it in the bank. 18 months to get it back is pessimistic too. In Zurich it was always refunded in the year I submitted the tax return.

Furthermore, the beauty of everyone paying the same means you can look up your tax rate in the table and you'll know exactly what you'll be paying in advance. All you need to know is which canton you are living in, whether you are married or not and how many kids you have.

Yes, health insurance is an added extra compared to the UK (or maybe not as plenty of higher earners have private healthcare too), but it's a fixed cost, so the more you earn the less it is as a % of income.
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Old 12.09.2016, 11:28
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

The good news is that unless they are receiving a pension from a company in Switzerland, retired people from the UK can permanently receive standard Swiss health insurance, paid for by the UK government (Person has to pay the first SFr 300 per year, plus 10% of the medical bills, as any Swiss person would).

It's a good idea to read this book, buy the recent version! https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb...nd%2Caps%2C203
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Old 12.09.2016, 13:00
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

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All you need to know is which canton you are living in, whether you are married or not and how many kids you have.
I can see that for some people, knowing all of this at once could prove problematic.
But yes, eyebeebe, you are right.
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Old 12.09.2016, 15:25
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

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The "tax take" percent I quoted also includes a guesstimate for my cost of paying for health cover, because to my mind if it's not discretionary therefore it must be considered a tax. And in the UK it comes out of your tax/NI payments. I also included the required pillars 1 and 2 under the same logic.

Regardless of the accuracy of my actual numbers, the point is the same. You will need more money than you think, and will get less than you expected. With 7 of you, that could be crucial.
This. Yes. And moving costs will be a lot. You will probably have to find 3 months rent up front as a deposit too.

Not trying to scaremonger but overall, it costs a lot more than people are generally led to believe to live here, particularly if you need any kind of childcare and/or want to pay for extra- curricular clubs etc.
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Old 12.09.2016, 20:13
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

18 months to get it back is pessimistic too. In Zurich it was always refunded in the year I submitted the tax return.

Please represent me to the tax people! (No, I'm serious...)

It was our Swiss tax lawyer who told me the current delay is up to 18 months. Of course, I won't know until I actually a) claim it and b) get it. I hope you are right!

OP, of course, your mileage may vary. I too was told tax was very low compared to the UK. But if you get some expat expenses (flights, relocation etc.) paid as part of your deal, you may end up in the same situation as me. It seems to f*@k up the Quellensteuer rate. Apparently they are considered by the Swiss as benefits in kind so you pay contributions at source. Only later may you get them back.

Checking my actual wage deductions January to May 16, the lowest overall % was 24.11%, the highest 47.61%. My (personal) health insurance costs are on top of that.

Nobody made me aware of any variable deductions, claim delays or other issues before I said "yes" to coming here. So while I might be quids in later, cashflow in your first year can be a bit unpredictable.

With just me here and the lovely wife at home in the UK, we can manage. I would hate to juggle the expenses for 7 like you will have to do.

Kind regards




Ian
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Old 12.09.2016, 22:41
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Ian

We may end up with husband in Zurich, me and kids in
London, is commuting back and forth working out?
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Old 14.09.2016, 00:28
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Hi Taz

It works, but you have to want it to work. (And it helps to have an employer who pays too).

Practicality depends on flight times and employers flexibility. I'm allowed to travel out Monday, back Friday. Flights get me in the office for 1.30pm Monday, leaving at 3pm Friday. So I still get a weekend at home. Employer loses almost a day a week of my time.

But the monday flight means getting up at 4.45am. After a year, I hate that with a vengance. So i occasionally come out Sunday nights. The involves leaving home at around 4pm. Which cuts down my weekend. Employer benefits with the extra half day.

Best solution is 4 weeks travelling, then the wife comes out for a weekend to save me a return trip. It costs us no more, and she gets to experience CH too. And we are together!

But if you are not here at the weekend, its hard to experience Swiss life. I tend to see work, Migros and the flat most days.

I am also very lucky in that both wife and I have previous experience of largely living alone in our previous lives, so we can take it. And we have such a strong relationship that being apart will not spoil anything. Plus we have cats, not kids.

Not sure how it works for the more family orientated.

Having said that, there's a guy I see most weeks on the plane has been doing this commute for 17 years!

Final thing to consider is the cost. Budget around £500 a week for travel - even if you get it paid for, don't forget you will be taxed on it as benefit in kind.

It might actually be cheaper for both of us to move here, but we have commitments.

Regards


Ian
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Old 14.09.2016, 01:26
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

£500 a week for travel...?
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Old 14.09.2016, 01:31
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Re: Moving to Zurich - what do I need to know?

Thanks, lots to think about. But that does help.
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