Life in Switzerland

Why choose Switzerland ?

Introduction to Switzerland

Switzerland is a federal country. It is composed of 26 sovereign states called cantons. Each of these states have their own government (that manages the executive branch) and a parliament (that manages the legislative branch). The citizen political life is very decentralised, the cantons and communes play an important role.

Political system

The Swiss political system is based on the direct participation of Swiss citizens and foreigners living in the country. Direct democracy is a fundamental factor of life that allows fellow citizens to actively participate in elections, initiatives and referandums.

Swiss economy

The Swiss economy stands on high value-added production and a highly qualified workforce. Among advanced industries, we can cite microtechnology, high technology, biotechnology, banking and insurance, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. The majority of workers are active in the third sector and in small and medium-sized business.

Work permits for foreigners

To work in Switzerland, foreign workers need to have an obligatory work permit. Switzerland has two systems for admitting foreign workers. Those who come from the 27 EU countries or EFTA countries benefit from the free movement agreement. However, in a limited number of cases, specialists and qualified workers from other countries are admitted.

Bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU

Switzerland maintains a close relationship withthe European Union (EU) regarding economic, political, and cultural plans. These relationships are regulated by a number of bilateral agreements concluded over the years between Switzerland the EU.

Taxation of businesses

Switzerland has undergone reform to lower the tax rate for businesses. The national average will be close to a rate of 16%. For example, the canton of Vaud has the intention of lowering the business tax rate to 13.8% by the year 2019.

Average salary

In the private sector, the average gross monthly salary in Switzerand is around SFR 6,000. Lower salaries for those with less qualification are between SFR 3,000 and 4,000.- For those with degrees from universities, HES, or those in specialised fields, the average salary is between SFR 7,000 and SFR 10,000.-

Education system

As a foreign resident, you can choose to put your children either the Swiss education system or in a European system by choosing one of the many international schools in Switzerland.

Buying real estate

If you are living in Switzerland and possess a residence permit (permit C) or an authorisation of stay that is valid for 5 years (permit B CE/AELE), you can acquire your real estate property with the same rights as any Swiss citizen. In other cases, an authorisation could be granted.

Housing

The easiest way to live in Switzerland is to rent an apartment. In fact, the majority of Swiss residents are renters and as a result, there is a lot of housing for rent.

Health system

Compared to other countries of the OECD, the quality of services in the Swiss health system is very high. The life expectency at the time of birth is one of the highest in the world. Patient processing in the Swiss system is practically immediate and waiting times for treatment are limited.

The insurances

The following insurances are obligatory in Switzerland:

  • Health insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Motor vehicle insurance
  • Fire and natural disaster insurance (obligatory according to the canton)

Social services

The Swiss social security system consists of five domaines:

  • Planning for old-age, survivors and invalidity (known as the three pillar system)
  • Insurance coverage in case of sickness or accident
  • Allocations for loss in the event of military service or maternity
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Family allocations

Religion

Population according to declared religion:

  • Roman-Catholic (41.8%)
  • Protestant (35.3%)
  • Muslim (4.3%)
  • Other (18.6%)

Swiss population (Source: STATPOP : juin 2015)

  • Swiss origin 6'254'100
  • foreign origin 2'025'600
  • total permanent residents 8'279'700

Languages

Switzerland has four national languages (source : OFS 2015)

  • German (62.5%)
  • French (22.5%)
  • Italian ( 8.1%)
  • Romansh ( 0.5%)
  • English is fluently spoken in the business world and in the large cities