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Old 02.06.2020, 15:02
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Moving to Switzerland

Good day, I would really like some information on what I should start doing and what my approach should be. I am 22 years old and live in South Africa at the moment. I have both a South African and Swiss passport and I would like to move to Switzerland early next year (like 1 January) or even at the end of this year if I can find a job that starts in January. I am currently doing my MSc in Quantitative Risk Management and will only have 6 months of work experience in the form of an industry directed project as part of the MSc degree. I also have a girlfriend whom I intend to marry just before my transition to Switzerland, that she can come with me. I have to get a lot of things in order and I would really appreciate any information that can be shared to me on this (from paperwork to the amount of money I will require +- to start my life there). I don't intend to take anything with me other than my then-wife, a suitcase with some clothes and a laptop for work.
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Old 02.06.2020, 17:06
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

Hi, and welcome to the forum, and soon to Switzerland. Great that you are Swiss! Yay!

Official Swiss Information
In case you haven't already found it, www.ch.ch has a wealth of information about many aspects of Swiss procedures and laws.

Language
Do you speak a Swiss language? Does your fiancée? If not, or if not yet well, then my advice, for both of you, is to learn as much as you can, of the language of the area you intend to live in, before you get here. It is possible to get by fine with just English, and to live in an expat bubble, and many people do. However, life is so much easier, and richer, if you can find your way around in the local language.

Document your Qualifications
Whatever studies you've done, whatever certificates you both have... before you leave, go back through them and try to document the syllabus, i.e. what, exactly, the course covered, how many hours, how many papers, etc. It is worth spending the time to collate all this, for both of you, in case it helps you to acquire Swiss acreditation of any qualifications you have. Depending on your fields, this may be essential for getting a professional registration.

Since you are young and open to the opportunity, think about other qualifications you may have, besides your academic ones, e.g. as a lifesaver or any trade skills you may have. Such matters may be entirely irrelevant if you actually land a job in your professional field, right away. But if not, they can stand you in good stead for getting some job, any job.
In the same way, collect proper references.
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Old 15.08.2020, 13:53
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Moving to Switzerland

I am 22 and I currently live in South Africa. I am a master's student in the final few months of my degree, ending in late November or early December. I would like to move to Switzerland in late December or early January. I do have a Swiss passport and there is also a girl in my life which I intend to marry at the end of this year, just before I would like to move so that I can take her with me.

The problem is, we will have around 3500-4000 CHF to live from for the first month. (after all my expenses like traveling to Switzerland, marrying, etc.) This will have to cover everything like transport to work, housing, food, etc. I will also be able to get maybe 2000-3000 CHF from my father, but I would prefer to not ask for anything as they already did so much for me.

My typical job will be a Quantitative analyst, junior Actuary, or data scientist. The salary range for this type of job, according to Glassdoor, is around 81k - 154k CHF per annum. I will know what my salary will be before I move as I will only move once I get a job. My girlfriend is also doing her master's degree in ACCA and will be able to earn around the same per annum. She will probably only be able to get a job after we married because she has no working permit and no work experience. (I intend to get married only a few days before we come as I want certainty about a job and I would also not like to live with my parent once I am married)

My family that lives in Switzerland lives in Geneva and I can't speak French or German at the moment. So moving to Zurich and working for a company that allows English is my only option as of now.

Does anyone maybe have any advice for me on how I should approach this move? Does it seem like a bad idea? Will the money be enough? When should I start applying for a job? When should I contact the Swiss embassy? Any information that can help will be appreciated.

Note: we will only bring clothes, cellphones, and our laptops when we move to Switzerland.
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Old 15.08.2020, 14:37
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

I would not marry a few days before you plan to move here because

"If you or your future spouse are Swiss citizens

You need to submit the necessary documents to the Swiss diplomatic mission in the relevant country. The Swiss diplomatic mission will then forward the documents to the appropriate Swiss authority. Please note that this procedure can take some time."

https://www.ch.ch/en/wedding-abroad/

You are likely to also need to meet these requirements to get a family reunification permit for her.

https://www.ch.ch/en/family-reunification-eu-efta

As for applying for jobs, start now to see what responses you get. Not speaking a Swiss language may limit your options. Also remember that hiring atm isn't happening as much due to the coronavirus situation and this may still be the same for the foreseeable future. There are some sticky threads here with companies that have English speakers

https://www.englishforum.ch/employment/

Is it a bad idea? Probably given the current situation, but all you can do is look at the jobs market and decide for yourself if you have a chance of landing one atm.
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Old 15.08.2020, 16:44
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

Hi, and welcome to the forum, and soon to Switzerland.

My brief advice is:
  • Plan to try to get a job in Zurich not Geneva, because of the English, as you say, because of your field of work, and because, if you speak Afrikaans, it will help you in learning German.
  • Both you and your fiancée should learn German, learn German, learn German. Starting now. Without delay. Practice every day. Find German-speakers there, and ask for help.
  • Both you and she should document all the modules and courses of your studies meticulously: not just the names, but also the actual work covered.
  • Join Couchsurfing (or some other online hospitality group, such as bewelcome). Couchsurfing memebership is no longer free, but it is a good way to find people. Fill out your profile in some detail, getting experience couchsurfin, and references, in South Africa before you leave. Correspond with couchsurfers in Zurich and surrounds, and ask them to let you stay for a few days, and give you some good advice about living in Zurich. If you do that with several different hosts, you will learn a great deal, and save on accommodation. If you do this, and live frugally, then you will cope on Fr. 3'000 until your first salary is paid.
  • Find a way to get your head around where you will live between getting married and leaving for Switzerland. Medea is 100% right that it is unwise to leave the marriage date to the last minute. If you are certain that you won't feel happy staying with your parents as a married couple, you could also get married but still live separately. But don't delay.
  • Accept that you might need to come to Switzerland first, and your wife follow you a little later. Unromantic, but sometimes practical, depending on the paperwork.

Good luck!
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Old 15.08.2020, 18:37
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

I doubt couchsurfing would allow him to bring his wife here with him under family reunification.
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Old 15.08.2020, 19:14
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

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I doubt couchsurfing would allow him to bring his wife here with him under family reunification.
Couchsurfing doesn't allow or disallow or even check anything at all about the people. They don't care a jot. It's always a private arrangement between willing hosts and willing guests. Like Bed and Breakfast, but without payment.

However, I agree with you, fully, that OP should first figure out all that is needed for the family reunification. Which will probably include finding a flat.

And it is in this context that I wrote that he might need to consider coming here ahead of his wife. I meant that he could stay with couchsurfers then, so as to talk to them to hear lots of opinions that will help with his figuring out how things work here, and also to save on rent. That way, he'd get by without depleting his savings. And from the security of a couchsurfer host (or several of them), he could go about looking for a flat, etc.
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Old 15.08.2020, 19:33
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

Can you register at an address, where you're couchsurfing? If you work, you need to be registered, don't you?
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Old 20.08.2020, 03:05
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Re: Moving to Switzerland

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Can you register at an address, where you're couchsurfing? If you work, you need to be registered, don't you?
That depends on the couchsurfing host. Some hosts allow only short stays of a few days, and for other couchsurfing hosts, accepting couchsurfing guests is a way to find new flat-mates.

In any case, I meant it as a first, provisional stop. You are right, though, to point out that one needs to registered. Thank you.

For OP, who may not know how the Swiss system works:
Everyone (and not just foreigners) must register at the municipality, to state their legal address. This registration is called, in German, "anmelden" or being "angemeldet". It must be done within a very short time... I think it is within 8 days of arrival. It is not merely empty paperwork, but really means that this is the address of your legal domicile; it is both the physical place to which all your documents are sent, and where you actually live. One's municipal domicile also determines to where one pays one's taxes.

Foreigners sometimes have some restrictions about where they're allowed to live in relation to where they work, and their permits. You, being Swiss, don't have to worry about that, and can live anywhere and work anywhere across the country.

Even so, it's implausible for you to live in Geneva (or wherever your relations are) and work in Zurich. It is permitted, however, to have your domicile (= primary place of residence) in Geneva and to travel up to Zurich for the week-days and stay over in Zurich (perhaps couchsurfing) during the week, and then return to Geneva on the weekends. That's being a "Wochen-aufenthalter". That might be a route for you to take, to start with, so you can look around in Zurich (or whichever city your job is in) and find real accommodation.
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