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  #21  
Old 21.04.2006, 07:50
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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If I ever get that far, the first thing I will do is find out which Zivilschutz office is responsible for my area. I will send them registered correspondence expressing my desire to perform all required Zivildienst, as I would rather do it than pay for my absence. I would be interested to know what the reply would be. If they sent a bill, then I would have good grounds to contest it.
Don't want to blow the candles on your cake out but actually no you have no grounds to contest it... The Zivilschutz is not available for all the population all the time. It is quite common for Gemeindes to have no tasks and in fact no organised Zivilschutz. In this case you pay or you join the fire brigade or you get rented out!

The fire service option varies by Canton. In Aargau for example it applies to all residents and one of you has to do it or pay a "fine" of CHF300. In other Cantons this is voluntary and replaces Zivilschutz/Bundeswehr.

The rented out bit is interesting. I only know of one Schaffhausen example of this but I do know it goes on. If your local authority does not provide any places for Zivildienst you can get rented out to one that does not have enough people to fill the places available. I guess this can mean some shitty jobs but on the other side it could mean getting to see some parts of Switzerland you might otherwise never see - such as those movable trees in the mountains...
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  #22  
Old 21.04.2006, 08:42
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

Just to re-iterate Richard's last point. If not doing military service the obligation falls on the citizen to find themselves some civildienst work. As has been explained to me this often involves looking for and applying to many organisations only to be told that there are no places are available. And if you are unable to work, you pay the fine. Seems like unnecessary stress and punishment to me.

Carrie - your husband has a good point, but the fact is that most of the civildienst is horribly boring and useless. Many of my friends have spent weeks sitting in bunkers or doing menial tasks which seem to have been invented just to keep people busy. I really don't think that it is economically efficient to have a skilled worker (if they are skilled) sorting out army biscuits, this can only hurt the economy in the long run - especially when you think about the fact that productive (hopefully) workers are removed from the economy for 3 working weeks of every year for this.

Of course there is a good side to this kind of work, which is why in other countries there are volunteer organisations that allow people to donate their time to good causes. People either go by choice, are compelled to do so by a judge as an alternative to jail. As for dealing with emergencies, these are also handled by similiar organisations, or a professional emergency services organisation (often also staffed by volunteers).

Bottom line - choice is a good thing in my books. When you don't get to choose how you spend your own time you have been deprived of your liberty. Oh but wait... It's not that bad right?
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  #23  
Old 21.04.2006, 09:11
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

Hhhmmmmm...I hear what you're saying, Mark, but I'm running out of things to say, actually. I could sit here all day and talk about things that infringe upon my personal liberty , but then I'd be wasting my time, when I could be doing something more productive .

There is a thing in life I hate called "sucking it up and moving on." You could do that. It's nobody's favorite, and I, personally, am too stubborn to master it.

I will add that when people suck it up and move on with the flow of the things, nothing ever changes!

My burning question is now: Does Zivildienst really make Swiss citzenship seem so unattractive to blokes? And Mark, aren't you just letting them win by depriving yourself of a Swiss passport?

So you blokes being irritated about the negative aspects of Zivildienst is good. Now the thing to do is probably keep complaining and get your head around it and eventually come up with a solution that can make it more efficient than it currently is. I think you are on the right track already, but it is definitely the rougher track to take. Not for sissies. You're going to be swimming upstream.

I feel like I swim upstream every frickin' day in Switzerland, but I must be a glutton for punishment because I don't want to go "home" to the USA.

"This town needs an enema!" - the Joker in Batman

P.S. I laughed out loud reading (again) the "no, wait, it's not that bad."
My humor is starting to transcend fart jokes, and I'm so proud of myself!
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  #24  
Old 21.04.2006, 13:41
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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My humor is starting to transcend fart jokes, and I'm so proud of myself!
I think I am going the other way, I am starting to enjoy watching Family Guy.

If citizenship means paying a bit of extra tax until I am 40 or so, then so be it. Could be worse.
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  #25  
Old 21.04.2006, 14:45
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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I think I am going the other way, I am starting to enjoy watching Family Guy.

If citizenship means paying a bit of extra tax until I am 40 or so, then so be it. Could be worse.
Oh sorry to enlighten you. No it does not it is a permanent penalty not something that stops at 40... But it ain't exactly a lot we are talking of 1% or so. Now if you really want a lot of pain and stress for nothing, go and put your name down to join the catholic church. They will welcome you with open arms and you will see why when you get your next tax bill
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  #26  
Old 21.04.2006, 20:27
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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Oh sorry to enlighten you. No it does not it is a permanent penalty not something that stops at 40... But it ain't exactly a lot we are talking of 1% or so. Now if you really want a lot of pain and stress for nothing, go and put your name down to join the catholic church. They will welcome you with open arms and you will see why when you get your next tax bill
Umm, 1% of lets say 90K a year is 900chf, thats 9000chf in the first 10 years. Still not peanuts.

So what your saying is, if you get citizenship when you are 35, you are penalised for life. But if you get it at 45 you get no penalty. That doesn't make sense.

As for joining the choppers, forget it. Unfortunately I forgot to warn a couple of Philippino colleagues I took to the Einwohnersamt when they arrived. When asked about their religion they all said together "Roman Catholic". I never told them afterwards either, because I knew they would linch me when they found out the consequences.
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  #27  
Old 21.04.2006, 22:36
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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Umm, 1% of lets say 90K a year is 900chf, thats 9000chf in the first 10 years. Still not peanuts.
ACtually I was told it was 2%, so chalk that up to almost 20K for ten years, then don't forget that they sting you for it when you apply for it as well (unless you are married to a Swiss).

Sorry, but the price is too high for me. Carrie - you mentioned earlier that I was some how letting them win. This depends on how you see citizenship. From a Swiss point of view they are doing me a favour to give me a passport, because it is (to them) such an honoured document. But if you come from the third world, every first world passport is an honoured document. I already have 3 passports, why should I pay through the nose for a 4th and then be made to feel like they have done me a favour. No - I see it differently. For a country to receive a citizen with education and skills is an honour (and a cost saving) for the country. The honour falls on the country, not the other way around.

The smarter immigration countries realise this, and go out of their way to make citizenship for skilled people as easy as possible. Everybody wins. However, here we just run ads with black hands grabbing at passports.

So anyway, back on topic - hey Lob, any closer to becoming Swiss yet?
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  #28  
Old 21.04.2006, 22:53
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

hhmmm...so for you, Mark, there is no advantage to becoming a Swiss citizen. I think I get it. CH is just making everything more tedious for themselves by keeping you here as an Auslander, more paperwork and asinine regulations and such.

I have thought of Swiss citizenship myself but the only advantage I can think of would be feeling a bit safer when visiting countries who don't think highly of Americans. Dang, that's nearly any country these days!

Other advantages, anyone?
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  #29  
Old 21.04.2006, 22:59
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

Yes, you get to vote, except your vote won't count. Kind of like voting democrat in Texas
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  #30  
Old 21.04.2006, 23:06
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

Or voting Democrat in any state! I have no faith in US elections being honest anymore.
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  #31  
Old 21.04.2006, 23:21
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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Or voting Democrat in any state! I have no faith in US elections being honest anymore.
So right you are:

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" The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything."

Stalin
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  #32  
Old 22.04.2006, 08:58
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

That statement is funny! I started off laughing, but then the laughter trailed off into "shit!" because it's true.
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  #33  
Old 23.04.2006, 22:48
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

Apparently .. many swiss go to a psychologist to fail a test to get out of doing military service. My boss did that and according to him, it was common amongst all his friends. So they all don't have to do any service because they're not "psychologically" sound.

The other swiss who was with us, who does his military duty nodded at this too. It seems to be common practise.


So maybe making friends with a psychologist is in order?
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  #34  
Old 24.04.2006, 21:55
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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Apparently .. many swiss go to a psychologist to fail a test to get out of doing military service. My boss did that and according to him, it was common amongst all his friends. So they all don't have to do any service because they're not "psychologically" sound.

The other swiss who was with us, who does his military duty nodded at this too. It seems to be common practise.


So maybe making friends with a psychologist is in order?
Which is all well and good. Except then you get stuck with civil service, and if you can't do that for whatever reason, then you get the joy of extra tax. The problem is that civil service or military service isn't usually a choice, so you have to find a way to get out of the military and then you get to do civil service. You don't have to be sane to sit in a bunker doing some kind of menial task!
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  #35  
Old 25.04.2006, 00:30
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

No, they don't do civil service either because they "can't" And because they can't, they don't pay extra.

I don't think they're considered "disabled" but certainly, mentally challenged enough to be unable to do civil or military duty..
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  #36  
Old 25.04.2006, 09:53
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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No, they don't do civil service either because they "can't" And because they can't, they don't pay extra.

I don't think they're considered "disabled" but certainly, mentally challenged enough to be unable to do civil or military duty..
Ok I'll check into that because I have friends who used that excuse to get out of the military, and they *did* have to do civil service, and they hate it.
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  #37  
Old 29.04.2006, 13:48
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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hhmmm...so for you, Mark, there is no advantage to becoming a Swiss citizen. I think I get it. CH is just making everything more tedious for themselves by keeping you here as an Auslander, more paperwork and asinine regulations and such.

I have thought of Swiss citizenship myself but the only advantage I can think of would be feeling a bit safer when visiting countries who don't think highly of Americans. Dang, that's nearly any country these days!

Other advantages, anyone?
Yes, there is one: If you have a B/C-permit and you leave the country for longer than 6 months (normally) you will lose your permit.

For me the key point whether you should apply for a Swiss passport or not, is depending on whether you want to be able to come back to CH at any time you wish. That depends on what citizenship you have (and of course if you are married to a Swiss):
  • EU citizenship: If you are from a EU country coming back to CH might be not such a big thing, but you still would have to go through the process of re-applying for the permit etc. (and starting with a B-permit, which in the eyes for some employers is still a "no" for employment)
  • non-EU citizenship: You probably remember the "snake biting itself" hassle of finding a job to get the B-permit <-> getting the B-permit to find a job. So coming back to CH might be not so easy.
IMHO I don't see any reason for a woman being married to a Swiss guy why not to get Swiss citizenship, since I don't see any disadvantages. You don't need to pay that much for it. You have full voting rights. Your kids can easily get Swiss citizenship as well. You are "safe" in case you get divorsed from your Swiss husband. You use the passport which serves you best when travelling: My wife uses the EU passport for travelling to EU countries and the Aussie passport when travelling to Oz.

As for men: If you are from a EU country and don't want to do army/civil service or not pay, you may not need to get Swiss citizenship as moving back to CH after being away for longer than 6 months might be not so difficult (but you will start with a B-permit over again). If you get Swiss citizenship but won't do army service, you will pay WPEG (Wehrpflichersatzabgabe), 3 CHF per 100 CHF taxed income. (http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/661/a13.html). If you do civil service, you have to pay 10% less of the amount for every day being in civil service (http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/661/index.html). But I have to say, that even being 5 days in civil service per year occurs in reality quite rarely.
More details on the topic here: http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/661/index.html

For all others it's basically about whether you value the possibility to come back to CH anytime you want (and paying for that option and possibly having to do army/civil service) against saving some money but being restricted when you leave the country.

Keep in mind that for couples being married and being both not Swiss, having a C-permit and applying for Swiss citizenship might become quite expensive (depends on where you live).
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  #38  
Old 29.04.2006, 19:37
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

Hi Syshack,

You raised some interesting points there. Also it seems that the extra cost for not doing civil service is higher than I thought - 3% not 2% (someone else said 1%). You point out that doing 5 days of civil service is rare - but probably good to point out that it is the citizens responsibility to do it (or find somewhere to do it), and if they don't manage to do enough - then they pay the fine!

Also the EU thing and returning to Switzerland is a good way to put it. I'm pretty sure that if you have a C you can have the time extended to 2 years, and then you'd just have to return for a while, register, apply again to leave, etc. I'm sure it could be done.

Another point to bear in mind is that as of next year the transition period ends for the free movement of people, meaning that quotas for permits will be abolished for EU citizens. This will make life much easier for someone wanting to come back.

So I guess we could summarise it like this:

Woman - If married to a Swiss, why not? If not, then depends if you want to fork out all that cash, but no ongoing cost.
Man - If from the EU then probably not worth it. If outside EU then really weigh up the penalities versus the ability to return to CH if you decide to leave...

So Lob - how is the decision looking?
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  #39  
Old 29.04.2006, 23:02
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

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You point out that doing 5 days of civil service is rare - but probably good to point out that it is the citizens responsibility to do it (or find somewhere to do it), and if they don't manage to do enough - then they pay the fine!
What I meant is that even if someone would come up with the idea to do 10 days of civil service to bring the fine down to 0%, it's nearly impossible. Normally the civil service lasts maybe 2-4 days, even if it's a larger training/WK thing. If you have to do some "real civil service work" like it happened a few times with helping out in catastrophy events, then you might do 5 days and more (which is still very unlikely, since in such cases they send people from all over the country).

I think today the civil service organisation is also aware that a employee not being at work for a week or so costs the employer much much than the replacement payments he receives from the government, so they try not cause trouble for them more than necessary.

In Zug where I had to do 4 days last year, I was able to split them to 2x2 days over a period of 2 months. My employer was not happy about the amount of days, but glad that the splitting was possible. Still, I had to insist towards the employer to do the civil service, since my boss believed I can just pay and not show up.

I had a few very positive days spent working for the Tixi (Taxi service for disabled/aged people) in Zug as part of my civil service duty.

-=#SAIKI#=-
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  #40  
Old 29.04.2006, 23:18
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Re: Passport for blokes: when's good to do so?

I guess that's also a good point. If I were the boss I might also think to myself "just pay your 3% fine like everybody else, why should I have to shoulder this cost".

But seriously, imagine you are an employer - you have to shoulder a big cost, both financially and in terms of disruption to your business. So what to do? I guess you could avoid hiring males and just hire women. Oh but wait - what if they get pregnant? Then you have to shoulder that cost as well. But hang on - there's an insurance for that - but of course, it isn't free. So what to do then - maybe hire women who are past child bearing age. But now there's another problem - if you hire someone over 40 your costs increase due to pension regulations.

So the employer doesn't have anything left to discriminate against because no matter where they turn they are being asked to foot the bill for something that has nothing to do with them or their business. Of course this is no problem if you hire nobody, or if you are a big enough business that it all balances out as the cost of doing business. But what if you are a small business - such disruption and cost can be a serious business.

Perhaps that's why everybody wants to be an employee rather than an entrepreneur in this country.

But there is one group that the employer could employ without the risk of having to pay for preganancy/military/civil service/pension insurance. The young male foreigner. So Lob - looks like there's a silver lining for you after all - well, 2 out of three isn't bad
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