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When you leave you can get

When you leave you can get all your pension contributions back OR they can pay you pro-rated when you're receiving pensions

Shania Twain moved there.

Can you sing?

I lived & worked there

and loved it. The people are a little cool towards foreigners but warm up over time. My swiss client had to 'sponsor' me and paid / prepared the working and living permits as required by swiss law. It's very difficult to live & work in Switzerland but it's worth the effort if you can swing it. You must also have a minimum college degree or some unique skill set that is rare in country. I was able to bring my wife & son, we lived just outside Basel in a small village named Oberwil for 3 years. Basel is a beautiful city located on the Rhine river and is very convenient to Germany and France, in particular the Alsace wine region.

Good luck to you and your quest to move there. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

"I don't think you can make a lawyer honest by an act of legislation. You've got to work on his conscience. And his lack of conscience is what makes him a lawyer."
Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Cyril's picture

This document might interest you.

This document might interest you.

Prices and Earnings
A comparison of purchasing power around the globe :

Edition 2012 (linked PDF)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

lunch in Switzerland is at

lunch in Switzerland is at least CHF 20.00 and a dinner is CHF 50.00. they are very orderly and not impromptu

Cyril's picture

As of today :

As of today :

CHF 1.00 ~ EUR 0.81 ~ USD 1.10

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

As I understand it

...it is very difficult.

It is definitely an amazing country.

If you're able, move there. Amazing.

There's lots of things to consider

About a year ago I started wondering about doing the same.

Check this link out: http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/gmaps.jsp
It's a map of the world, showing which areas have different grades of the cost of living.

Switzerland is very expensive.

You also need to see what the unemployment rates are and what the minimum wage is.

One thing you might be unaware of is that you need a work visa in order to work in Europe. In order to get one, you have to find an employer who is willing to hire you and therefore help you with that work visa process. They are required by law to hire natives, even if they are less qualified, as opposed to foreigners.

You'll want and need enough savings so that if you move there and have trouble getting a job you won't have to fly back home or be stuck there in lots of trouble.

You'll also want to see the tax rates - many European countries have insane taxes and I think Switzerland is no exception.

Try looking at Poland. After I narrowed down all my choices, I picked Poland and recently went there for a near 3 week trip to find out what it was like and see if it was right for me. It was.

EDIT: This thread just popped up...seems appropriate: http://dailypaul.com/300729/eric-margolis-on-switzerland-mos...

The Swiss taxes are ok.

They are not close to the rest of Europe.

They have much more freedom, and the country is way better managed than the EU.

I believe that someone must practice their german before going to the country. And as you said, it is very expensive.

Who in their right mind would

Who in their right mind would downvote this post?

I believe the requirements are similar to NZ

You need to have a couple of hundreds of thousands in the bank. Also, once you move there and want citizenship, your neighbors have to vote in your favor in order for you to get citizenship.

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Not nearly as easy

As it would be to move to Chile!


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Switzerland is very clean and well kept with excellent food.

I have many Swiss friends who travel to the US and based on their opinions you should prepare yourself for the difference.

Housing: Move to San Francisco, get a job with whatever skills you have. Calculate the percentage of your paycheck that is going to housing cost.

Food: Do all your shopping at Whole Foods or eat in top notch organic restaurants. Calculate the percentage of your paycheck that is going to food.

I do know a guy who moved to the Filpines (Cebu) after retiring on $1300/mo Social Security. For less than half his paycheck, he gets a 2BR beachfront condo with a live in maid/cook. The other portion of his check is spent on vices that I won't mention here, but he seems very happy.

food is crazy expensive.

food is crazy expensive.

disagree about the food

I lived in Geneva, Switzerland for three years, and if I had to highlight the one thing that sucked, I would say the food. Outside of England, probably the worst in Western Europe. For e.g., whenever you buy a watermelon from their main grocery chain, Migros, it is fairly obvious to tell that it had been stored in a FREEZER ... no joke, tastes terrible. As a standard, they use UHT milk (ultra high temperature) the kind that doesn't spoil if it isn't refrigerated. If you order hot chocolate in a restaurant, e.g., you can tell that they use UHT milk. Pretty much all the Europeans (apart from the Brits) that I worked with complained about the food there.

There are a lot of positives though: low taxes, low unemployment, high salaries, etc., but food I thought was the noteworthy exception. (The other negative, is that it is pretty boring unless your primary hobbies are skiing, paragliding, or hiking in the mountains.)

Thanks for the other side of the Swiss food adventure.

Having never been there and experienced only what my friends brought me (sausages, cheese and chocolates) which were always top quality. I took these guys to many good restaurants and the only good thing they could say about American food was that it was very cheap.

What is the cost of housing like? My friends were mostly from Baden, worked around the world as engineers for ABB. They assumed they would never own real estate unless they inherited it. I have friends in San Francisco/ San Jose and one in Tokyo who are in similar job/housing situations.

housing is expensive

After I left Geneva, Switzerland, I moved to NYC (Manhattan). If I recall, I kind of felt that the rents were equivalent between the two places. Another parallel between Geneva and NYC is that there were many rent-controlled apartments (lots of people paying under market prices) and there was also a shortage of apartments partly due to strict laws about building new housing. At some point during the time I was there, the rents dropped, e.g., when you would look for an apartment, they were telling you how the rent was being lowered vs. the prior tenant. (In NYC this happened as well around 2004, market rates were dropping over 10% or so.)

But, the more important factor is that the high salaries more than make up for the high cost of rent. Economically, they have it pretty good ... but that's to be expected since Switzerland isn't wasting all their GDP getting involved in foreign wars, etc. Also, the whole time I lived there, I never knew who their president was. I asked a couple people, Swiss, and they didn't know either. One response I got was, "I don't know, it keeps changing." Eventually when I moved back to NYC, the president of Switzerland appeared on CNBC. Overall, their president does not have celebrity status, and their Congress only meets a couple weeks 4 times per year. They don't spend the entire year "working" ... i.e., if it ain't broke, they aren't trying to fix it by creating new laws just for the sake of showing the public that they "did something." And many of the laws in Switzerland come into place by public referendum.

It doesn't surprise me that you would have Swiss friends who wouldn't appreciate the food in America. Their taste buds are pretty much set in their ways. You don't get any exotic restaurants in Geneva if you venture too far away from the train station (where travellers from outside the country are more likely.) The food choices are limited because that's what the Swiss like. Somebody from my work who moved to the US actually complained about the potatoes from the supermarket here, because when she made au gratin, there was a bluish tint. They basically want one variety of potato, and it keeps everything predictable, monotonous and bland.

Cyril's picture

Homework first, job second

How hard? I can't quite tell re: Switzerland, but if you're like me and want to be law abiding/not an illegal immigrant, the very first step is to do one's basic homework :


Assuming you're not discouraged, my second step was to secure a job before setting foot on the new soil (US). Then you can start considering the filing of whatever amount of paperwork.

Third, it's going to be tough if you can't dedicate at least $10,000 or so for your relocation (again, if like me, you're willing to do it at your own expenses from end to end). But if you're lucky your next employer may be willing to help. Anyhow, that sort of tiny money literally evaporates in 3 months. That did it for my wife and I, anyway. But I can tell you my first pay check in the US, three months after having my contract signed and the process started, was... *MOST* welcome!

Oh the irony though... I know someone I see almost every work day and who immigrated from Switzerland to the US 15 years ago, now a self-employed business owner (thus, among the unluckiest ones fiscally now in soviet Amerika...)

Agreed anyway, there is much much worse than Switzerland to immigrate to, in Europe.

Good luck!

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cyril's picture

Avoid my country by all means anyway

Avoid my country by all means anyway, for a living in France, unless you have the most craving irrational love about her.

Personally, I had my dose of socialism version fromage. I know I'm getting my double dose with other flavors now here in the US, but... whatever.

This keeps me up and willing to fight HERE to reinstate it : http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/billofrights

(Now, some tourism in France can still be okay or even enjoyable, I suppose - but okay, that's off-topic)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Switzerland has a freer

Switzerland has a freer economy than the U.S. does.