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Old 13.11.2020, 04:45
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Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Dear all,

I'm new to this forum, I'm an Australian national currently working for the University of Bern in an international development job in Myanmar, and also doing a PhD through UniBe as well. Currently I and the family are considering whether to move to head office in Bern from July next year. However, one consideration we have is that we would prefer to live in a French speaking area as my 8 year old son currently attends the French school in Yangon, and we would like to put him into the Swiss public school system (in a French language school), and also my wife and I having learnt French before would just feel more comfortable to live in a French speaking area. We considered Biel and surrounds (Bern Canton), but as we already have some friends living in Lausanne, we thought that it might be better to live in Vaud Canton, either Lausanne, or Yverdon-les-bains, and commute to Bern (potentially only 3 days a week anyway).


However, I understand with the Federal canton system in Switzerland, this is not so straight forward. I'm wondering if anyone has any advice for Non-EU national on working in Bern but trying to get residence in Vaud? Also currently not clear whether I should apply through a student visa through my PhD, or try to jump through the hoops of a business visa.


Any advise much appreciated.
Thanks
BB
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Old 13.11.2020, 22:25
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Re: Any issues working working in Bern but living in Vaud

Welcome to the Forum. Normally a non-EU citizen needs to live in the same canton where the work is. You'll need to get permission from both cantons to move. Hopefully someone else will have more info.
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Old 13.11.2020, 22:54
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Re: Any issues working working in Bern but living in Vaud

Yes you will need permission from both cantons but should you get it, it would be a doddle.

Fot many years I lived in Vaud and worked in Geneva. My permit was clearly annotated than I was not allowed to work in Vaud. I think that disappeared once I had my C permit.
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Old 13.11.2020, 23:32
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Re: Any issues working working in Bern but living in Vaud

As far as permits are concerned maybe trying via your student one would be easier? An ordinary permit will require your employer to make their case for why they can't find a Swiss/EU national to do the job before they'd be granted a permit for you. The non-EU hiring criteria is outlined here:

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

As for commuting it'll be around an hour by either train or car, maybe a bit longer by car. An alternative would be to consider living in a French speaking part of Fribourg canton which sits between Vaud and Bern cantons. It's bilingual, but the western part of the canton is French speaking. Fribourg city itself is bilingual and would only be around 35 minute commute.
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Old 14.11.2020, 00:53
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Re: Any issues working working in Bern but living in Vaud

Your main issue would be working in Bern and paying income tax in Vaud.

Also, have you checked out the rents in and near Lausanne?
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Old 14.11.2020, 03:00
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Re: Any issues working working in Bern but living in Vaud

I think there are French speaking areas in Canton Bern, so one option would be to live in one of the French speaking areas.
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Old 14.11.2020, 13:51
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Re: Any issues working working in Bern but living in Vaud

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I think there are French speaking areas in Canton Bern, so one option would be to live in one of the French speaking areas.
I also think there's at least one French-language school in the Bern city area but I'm not sure if it's public or private, or what years are covered. In terms of widespread French speaking within the city, not so much. However there are plenty of shops, restaurant staff, doctors, pharmacists, etc. that speak English.

Biel would be "easiest" in the sense that it's still Kanton Bern so there are no special permissions required for your permit.
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Old 14.11.2020, 14:44
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Biel is in my experience more (like a lot more) German than French speaking. Commuting to work (BE) and see friends (LS) might cost quite a bit considering the usual PhD salary and 3 people living off it (just mentioning this in case cash is a concern, the other job might pay more?).
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Old 14.11.2020, 14:56
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Bernese Jura
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Old 14.11.2020, 18:04
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Yes, we do know some people up there too, but it's also quite rural and not sure if the family is really up for the full rural hills experience, plus we'll need to get a car which I try to avoid. Part of the idea of living around Laussane, is that it's more likely that my wife would be able to get a job with here experience in international deveolpment.

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Biel is in my experience more (like a lot more) German than French speaking. Commuting to work (BE) and see friends (LS) might cost quite a bit considering the usual PhD salary and 3 people living off it (just mentioning this in case cash is a concern, the other job might pay more?).

Actually, it's a good point. Living in South East Asia for almost two decades, I have to say I've forgotten how hard it can be to make ends meet in a developed country. Actually I'm getting about 6150CHF / month for my part time work at the moment. As I'm in Myanmar the tax is minimal, but wondering how much I'll be left with after tax living in Switzerland. And then relasistically will it be possible to live there on that wage, not that we need to save anything, but it would be good to at least make ends meet.

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Your main issue would be working in Bern and paying income tax in Vaud.

Also, have you checked out the rents in and near Lausanne?

Yeah, crazy! I was thinking maybe Yverdon-Les-bains, it looked a little cheaper and within striking distance of Bern and possibly Geneva if need be for my wife.

Last edited by roegner; 14.11.2020 at 18:25. Reason: Merging consecutive posts
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Old 14.11.2020, 18:43
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Have a play around with the SBB timetable to see what the trains look like from Lausanne and Yverdon. Lausanne is direct to Bern, but I don't know what the service is like from Yverdon. Might need to change somewhere and I expect it would be a slower service with more stops along the way as well.

https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
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Old 14.11.2020, 18:48
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

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Have a play around with the SBB timetable to see what the trains look like from Lausanne and Yverdon. Lausanne is direct to Bern, but I don't know what the service is like from Yverdon. Might need to change somewhere and I expect it would be a slower service with more stops along the way as well.

https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
You have to change in either Neuchâtel or Bienne to get from Yverdon to Bern.

The fastest journey from Lausanne to Bern takes longer than any of the journeys from Yverdon but the advantage is that they would be in the same train throughout.
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Old 14.11.2020, 22:58
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Fribourg would be your best bet. Train commute to Bern, direct, 22 mins.


To Lausanne direct, 49 mins.

Last edited by JackieH; 14.11.2020 at 23:39.
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Old 15.11.2020, 01:35
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

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Biel is in my experience more (like a lot more) German than French speaking.
Yeah, Biel is exclusively German-speaking. But fortunately there's always Bienne for those who speak only French.

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Fribourg would be your best bet. Train commute to Bern, direct, 22 mins.

To Lausanne direct, 49 mins.
Also a very good option. OP, it sounds like you have some experience of Suisse romande already, so our opinions on various options probably don't count for much, but Fribourg and Yverdon are both beautiful cities with a lot to offer. Frankly, pretty much everywhere in Romandie is great (especially compared to most places in the German-speaking parts), but I know you have to consider your wife's prospects too. If Bienne isn't an attractive option, take a good like at Fribourg and Yverdon-les-Bains.

I'd be wary of living in Lausanne and working in Bern(e). The commute would get you down after a while (and it's not cheap!), and I think you'd struggle to rent a decent place and still enjoy life in Lausanne.

Last edited by 22 yards; 16.11.2020 at 18:14. Reason: Typo
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Old 15.11.2020, 07:54
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

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and I think you'd struggle to rent a decent place and still enjoy life in Lausanne.
I agree anything within walking distance of the station in Lausanne is going to be poor value for money. Adding a bus commute on both ends of the route will likely add 30-60 minutes to your journey. Sure, it’s do-able, but you will hate it.
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Old 15.11.2020, 10:22
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

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Fribourg would be your best bet. Train commute to Bern, direct, 22 mins.


To Lausanne direct, 49 mins.
Fribourg would be a very good option and taxes are lower than Lausanne too.

Do you mean 49 minutes direct from Fribourg to Lausanne as it’s over an hour from Lausanne to Bern?

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I agree anything within walking distance of the station in Lausanne is going to be poor value for money. Adding a bus commute on both ends of the route will likely add 30-60 minutes to your journey. Sure, it’s do-able, but you will hate it.
Completely agree with this.

Last edited by Belgianmum; 15.11.2020 at 11:09.
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Old 15.11.2020, 10:42
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Lausanne-Berne is either 66 or 72 minutes. 2 direct trains an hour.

That route, particularly the Lausanne- Fribourg bit is in particular need of a straightening. It is tedious. While this might happen in the next decade fixing it will cause serious disruptions and delays
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Old 15.11.2020, 12:40
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

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Do you mean 49 minutes direct from Fribourg to Lausanne as it’s over an hour from Lausanne to Bern?.

Fribourg to Lausanne.
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Old 16.11.2020, 19:47
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

Thanks everyone for you help with this. It's such a relief to find a forum to be able to sound out such invaluable advice.



So looking at the train timetables and realising that Biel/Bienne is more German speaking, it seems that there are probably two main options we are looking at, namely Neuchatel, and Frigbourg, both with their respective Cantons. Perhaps the biggest questions for us in chosing between these two places.
1) Quality of life based on my income
2) Ease of getting permisison from Neuchatel or Fribourg canton (any non-EU experience in this regard) to reside in these cantons while worknig in Bern.

3) Economic - cheaper rent / lower taxes


Thanks once again.
BB
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Old 16.11.2020, 20:04
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Re: Any issues working in Bern but living in Vaud

BB, I think your first step is to determine if Berne will allow you to live in another Canton. They don’t have to allow it. You will be moving your taxes.

Edited to add: Perhaps you should start with your employers HR department.
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