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Switzerland most expensive in Europe, but not for everything says new study

7 days ago

Few who have visited or lived in Switzerland will be particularly surprised to hear that Switzerland is the most expensive place in Europe. However the price differences are quite eye opening. The recently published Eurostat price level study ranks Switzerland as the most expensive overall, well ahead of second and third placed Iceland and Norway.
© Ginasanders | Dreamstime.com
Overall Switzerland is 61% more costly than the EU average. Second placed Iceland is 47% and Norway 40% above the EU average.
Digging into the detail it becomes clear that while some things are extremely expensive in Switzerland not everything is. Food and beverage costs 73% more than the EU average, making it the country’s most costly category. Not far behind are hotels and restaurants (+67%), clothing (+43%) and

Read More »

Switzerland most expensive in Europe, but not for everything says new study

7 days ago

Few who have visited or lived in Switzerland will be particularly surprised to hear that Switzerland is the most expensive place in Europe. However the price differences are quite eye opening. The recently published Eurostat price level study ranks Switzerland as the most expensive overall, well ahead of second and third placed Iceland and Norway.
© Ginasanders | Dreamstime.com
Overall Switzerland is 61% more costly than the EU average. Second placed Iceland is 47% and Norway 40% above the EU average.
Digging into the detail it becomes clear that while some things are extremely expensive in Switzerland not everything is. Food and beverage costs 73% more than the EU average, making it the country’s most costly category. Not far behind are hotels and restaurants (+67%), clothing (+43%) and

Read More »

For the first time many Swiss commercial apprenticeship positions to be left vacant

8 days ago

20 Minutes.
Normally commercial apprenticeship positions in Switzerland are snapped up nearly one year in advance. However this year many will be left vacant according to Zurich newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.
© Artofphoto | Dreamstime.com
Commercial apprenticeships cover tasks such as accounting, administration and secretarial activities. Training takes around three years and results in a federal certificate. Graduates work for banks, insurers, biotech companies, government agencies and other organisations and companies.
Government statisticians in April forecast around 1,500 commercial apprenticeship vacancies.
One driver seems to be a shortage of qualified applicants. Remo Marantelli, an apprentice recruiting agent, told the NZZ: “Even big companies are struggling to fill empty posts.”

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Property prices fall in Swiss resorts but climb elsewhere, says UBS report

11 days ago

A real estate report by the bank UBS, which looks at 25 top resorts in Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy, shows vacation home price drops across Switzerland. These price falls contrast with price rises in resorts in Austria, France and Italy.
With more than 10,000 second homes, Crans-Montana is Switzerland’s biggest market in the Alpine region. Next is Davos/Klosters with just under 10,000 apartments. Third is Engadin/St. Moritz (8,500), followed by Verbier (6,000), Adelboden/Lenk (5,000), Jungfrau region (5,000), Zermatt (4,500) and Gstaad (just under 4,000).

Still the most expensive – St. Moritz – © Danilo Mongiello | Dreamstime.com – Click to enlarge
The report says that residential property prices in

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No roaming charges in Europe, except in Switzerland

12 days ago

From 15 June 2017, there are no EU roaming charges for most of those with a mobile phone on an EU contract. The new rules compelling operators to axe the charges, announced in September last year, are now in force. Countries outside the EU, but within the European Economic Area (EEA), including Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland’s neighbour Liechtenstein, are included, but Switzerland isn’t. While technically EEA countries, which include Liechtenstein, Norway, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Andorra, don’t need to comply until later in the year, some of their operators have already done so.
© Lunamarina | Dreamstime.com
Those with Swiss plans are stuck paying roaming charges. Equally, EU phone users in Switzerland will still be subject to roaming charges when they are in

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No roaming charges in Europe, except in Switzerland

12 days ago

From 15 June 2017, there are no EU roaming charges for most of those with a mobile phone on an EU contract. The new rules compelling operators to axe the charges, announced in September last year, are now in force. Countries outside the EU, but within the European Economic Area (EEA), including Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland’s neighbour Liechtenstein, are included, but Switzerland isn’t. While technically EEA countries, which include Liechtenstein, Norway, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Andorra, don’t need to comply until later in the year, some of their operators have already done so.
© Lunamarina | Dreamstime.com
Those with Swiss plans are stuck paying roaming charges. Equally, EU phone users in Switzerland will still be subject to roaming charges when they are in

Read More »

New initiative to keep foreign workers out of Switzerland

12 days ago

Le Matin.
On 15 June 2017, one day after kicking off the job of collecting the signatures required to call a referendum, the text for a new plan to limit access to Switzerland’s job market was presented to the Swiss government.

Before a Swiss popular vote or referendum can be launched 100,000 valid signatures must be collected within the space of 18 months.
The text for this initiative calls for immigration to be halted when unemployment rises above 3.2%. The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) unemployment calculation would be used. In Switzerland the most recent figure was 5.3%, well above the initiative’s trigger point.
The nine-person committee behind the initiative is led by UDC/SVP member Richard Koller, who stressed that it was not a UDC initiative. Giardino Willi

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Geneva hospital breaks european record for most robot operations

13 days ago

This week, Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) announced it had carried out the largest number of robotic surgical procedures in Europe, passing the milestone of 2,500. The exact total is 2,514, which include visceral (1,185), urological (1,053) and gynaecological (276) operations.

The team has observed numerous benefits from robotic surgery, such as smaller incisions and scars, less pain, less leakage from stitches, fewer blood transfusions and less time in hospital.
In addition, costs are far lower. For example a robotic gastric bypass costs CHF 18,587, compared to the CHF 25,466 it typically costs for open surgery, a saving of 27%. Much of the saving relates to fewer postoperative complications, in particular postoperative leakage and shorter hospital stays. And these savings are after

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Property prices fall in Swiss resorts but climb elsewhere, says UBS report

14 days ago

A real estate report by the bank UBS, which looks at 25 top resorts in Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy, shows vacation home price drops across Switzerland. These price falls contrast with price rises in resorts in Austria, France and Italy.
Still the most expensive – St. Moritz – © Danilo Mongiello | Dreamstime.com
With more than 10,000 second homes, Crans-Montana is Switzerland’s biggest market in the Alpine region. Next is Davos/Klosters with just under 10,000 apartments. Third is Engadin/St. Moritz (8,500), followed by Verbier (6,000), Adelboden/Lenk (5,000), Jungfrau region (5,000), Zermatt (4,500) and Gstaad (just under 4,000).
The report says that residential property prices in Switzerland’s alpine tourist destinations have stagnated since 2011, citing as causes, the strong

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Swiss government moves a step closer to axing capital withdrawals from pensions

19 days ago

Swiss pensions have three parts. The first is a standard payment based on the number of years you have paid social security taxes (AVS / AHV). The second (2nd pillar) is based on a personal pot of money built up from compulsory salary deductions. And the third is a personal pot derived from optional tax deductible savings, known as a 3rd pillar.

All three are designed to come together to provide enough income in retirement. The problem is that a growing number of retirees are finding they don’t have enough. When this happens the government steps in and makes supplemental payments. From 2000 to 2015, the number receiving supplemental payments rose from 202,000 to 315,000, reaching 12.5% of all those receiving a

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Switzerland not the most expensive in Europe for some mobile packages

20 days ago

Yesterday, the price comparison website Verivox published a study comparing mobile phone costs across 13 european countries. On most measures Switzerland was the most expensive, and by a wide margin.
A plan including 100 minutes of talk and 1 Go (gigaoctet1) of data per month costs an average of CHF 25 per month in Switzerland. The same thing was significantly cheaper in Spain (CHF 20.70), Denmark (CHF 19.30), France (CHF 16.50) and Poland (CHF 6.50).
Switzerland was also expensive for unlimited calls, SMS and data, with an average monthly price of CHF 59. The same thing in Poland was CHF 14.70. However Switzerland was far from the most expensive. An average unlimited package in Germany costs a monthly CHF 220, a

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Mortgage reference rate falls opening way for Swiss rent cuts

25 days ago

Every three months the rate of interest used to set Swiss rents is reviewed. If it goes down some renters have the right to request a decrease in rent. This time it dropped 0.25% to 1.50%.
– Click to enlarge
The interest rate used to set the reference rate was the average rate on Swiss mortgages at 31 March 2017 of 1.61% which rounds to 1.50% under the rounding rules, which round to the nearest quarter of a percent.
The new rate will come into effect on 2 June 2017 and stay at this level unless the rate used to calculate it moves below 1.38% or above 1.62% over the three months preceding the next calculation, which will be announced on 1 September 2017.
The last time it fell was in June 2015 when it went from

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Swiss healthcare ranked third globally for preventing death

26 days ago

A study of data from 195 countries from 1990 to 2015 published recently in the medical journal The Lancet, ranks Switzerland’s healthcare system third. The analysis looked at mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care. It considered both healthcare access and quality and was designed with the aim of normalising for local environmental and behavioural risks.
– Click to enlarge
Researchers looked at mortality rates for 32 different causes of death and then computed an average score to come up with an overall ranking. These causes of death were chosen because they respond to intervention. Healthcare Access and Quality Index scores range from 0 to 100.
Switzerland’s

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Swiss government moves a step closer to axing capital withdrawals from pensions

26 days ago

Swiss pensions have three parts. The first is a standard payment based on the number of years you have paid social security taxes (AVS / AHV). The second (2nd pillar) is based on a personal pot of money built up from compulsory salary deductions. And the third is a personal pot derived from optional tax deductible savings, known as a 3rd pillar.
© Atholpady | Dreamstime.com
All three are designed to come together to provide enough income in retirement. The problem is that a growing number of retirees are finding they don’t have enough. When this happens the government steps in and makes supplemental payments. From 2000 to 2015, the number receiving supplemental payments rose from 202,000 to 315,000, reaching 12.5% of all those receiving a pension, driving the cost of these extra payments

Read More »

Around one in 30 men in Switzerland don’t brush their teeth every day

26 days ago

In Switzerland dentists are expensive. Brushing and an occasional trip to the dental hygienist on the other hand is a relatively inexpensive way to dodge those costly trips. Despite this many still seem to avoid it, according to a report published this week.
© Jeremy Allen | Dreamstime.com
In 2012, more than half of the population (51%) visited a dental hygienist at least once a year in Switzerland, up from 37% in 2002. Most of this overall increase was driven by those over 64. The percentage of this group getting a professional clean at least once a year rose from 30% to 53% over the same ten year period.
The chance of an annual trip to a hygienist increased with education. 60% of those with tertiary education paid a visit in 2012 compared to only 39% of those with only high school

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Switzerland not the most expensive in Europe for some mobile packages

26 days ago

Yesterday, the price comparison website Verivox published a study comparing mobile phone costs across 13 european countries. On most measures Switzerland was the most expensive, and by a wide margin.
© Nenitorx | Dreamstime.com
A plan including 100 minutes of talk and 1 Go (gigaoctet1) of data per month costs an average of CHF 25 per month in Switzerland. The same thing was significantly cheaper in Spain (CHF 20.70), Denmark (CHF 19.30), France (CHF 16.50) and Poland (CHF 6.50).
Switzerland was also expensive for unlimited calls, SMS and data, with an average monthly price of CHF 59. The same thing in Poland was CHF 14.70. However Switzerland was far from the most expensive. An average unlimited package in Germany costs a monthly CHF 220, a multiple of Switzerland.
But as Anouch

Read More »

Switzerland not the most expensive in Europe for some mobile packages

26 days ago

Yesterday, the price comparison website Verivox published a study comparing mobile phone costs across 13 european countries. On most measures Switzerland was the most expensive, and by a wide margin.
© Nenitorx | Dreamstime.com
A plan including 100 minutes of talk and 1 Go (gigaoctet1) of data per month costs an average of CHF 25 per month in Switzerland. The same thing was significantly cheaper in Spain (CHF 20.70), Denmark (CHF 19.30), France (CHF 16.50) and Poland (CHF 6.50).
Switzerland was also expensive for unlimited calls, SMS and data, with an average monthly price of CHF 59. The same thing in Poland was CHF 14.70. However Switzerland was far from the most expensive. An average unlimited package in Germany costs a monthly CHF 220, a multiple of Switzerland.
But as Anouch

Read More »

Mortgage reference rate falls opening way for Swiss rent cuts

27 days ago

Every three months the rate of interest used to set Swiss rents is reviewed. If it goes down some renters have the right to request a decrease in rent. This time it dropped 0.25% to 1.50%.
© Newstock | Dreamstime.com
The interest rate used to set the reference rate was the average rate on Swiss mortgages at 31 March 2017 of 1.61% which rounds to 1.50% under the rounding rules, which round to the nearest quarter of a percent.
The new rate will come into effect on 2 June 2017 and stay at this level unless the rate used to calculate it moves below 1.38% or above 1.62% over the three months preceding the next calculation, which will be announced on 1 September 2017.
The last time it fell was in June 2015 when it went from 2.00% to 1.75%. In 2008, when the index started, the reference rate was

Read More »

Swiss healthcare ranked third globally for preventing death

28 days ago

A study of data from 195 countries from 1990 to 2015 published recently in the medical journal The Lancet, ranks Switzerland’s healthcare system third. The analysis looked at mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care. It considered both healthcare access and quality and was designed with the aim of normalising for local environmental and behavioural risks.
© Spotmatik | Dreamstime.com
Researchers looked at mortality rates for 32 different causes of death and then computed an average score to come up with an overall ranking. These causes of death were chosen because they respond to intervention. Healthcare Access and Quality Index scores range from 0 to 100.
Switzerland’s overall score of 92 puts it behind only Andorra (94) and Iceland

Read More »

Big debts at 18 because parents didn’t pay Swiss health insurance bills

May 29, 2017

© Andrey Popov – Dreamstime.com 20 Minutes. A recent article in the newspaper 20 Minutes highlights the nasty surprise some young people experience when their parents fail to pay their health insurance premiums. Turning 18 is one of life’s key milestones. It corresponds with the end of school and entry into a new world. In …

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Some Swiss cantons overwhelmed with confessions of tax evasion

May 28, 2017

© Irakite | Dreamstime.com Ahead of the automatic exchange of bank account information, which comes into effect at the beginning of next year, Swiss residents with undeclared foreign bank accounts are rushing to come clean to the tax authorities, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS. According to RTS, 380 have come forward in Fribourg, 173 in Valais, …

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Poor not being pushed out of Swiss cities

May 26, 2017

Central Zurich – © Andreas Zerndl | Dreamstime.com
It is widely believed that as the price of real estate climbs those on low incomes are forced out of city centres. A study by the University of Geneva, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office focused on the period between 2010 and 2014, shows this is not true in Switzerland.
Rich leaving the centres
Those earning the most were the most likely to move and tended to move out of city centres. Among wealthy residents the net flow was out of city centres. Among the poor the net flow went in the opposite direction, except in Bern. All central city zones saw net outflows and a decline in working-age residents.
Unsurprisingly, events most likely to boost the

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Switzerland sees steep rise in number of mothers working

May 25, 2017

Recent figures from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical office show that in 2016 74% of women with children under 15 were working. In 1996, the same percentage was 61%.
© Katarzyna Bialasiewicz | Dreamstime.com
The percentage of mums working climbs significantly with the level of education. In 2016, 79% of those with tertiary qualifications were working, compared to 61% of mums in the least qualified category. This gap has grown since 1996. Back then 57% of the least qualified mums worked compared to 61% of those with tertiary qualifications – a difference of 4% has widened to 18%.
Combine this trend with an increase in the number of couples with the same level of education and it is easy to see how family incomes have polarised with more well-educated dual high-income families at one end of

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Poverty in Switzerland has more to do with age than any other factor

May 24, 2017

© Lisavan | Dreamstime.com A recent report classifies 570,000 people in Switzerland as poor. This number represents 7% of the population, and relates to 2015. In 2014, the same percentage was 6.6%. The report, which looks only at income, defines as poor a single person with income less than CHF 2,239 per month or a …

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Big debts at 18 because parents didn’t pay Swiss health insurance bills

May 24, 2017

20 Minutes.
A recent article in the newspaper 20 Minutes highlights the nasty surprise some young people experience when their parents fail to pay their health insurance premiums.
© Andrey Popov – Dreamstime.com
Turning 18 is one of life’s key milestones. It corresponds with the end of school and entry into a new world. In Switzerland it is also a health insurance milestone.
Switzerland’s system of compulsory basic health insurance requires all residents to have a policy covering basic health care costs. If you fail to sign up your commune of residence will sign you up and the insurance company will send you a bill. The state mandated system is heavily managed by the government, which dictates what is covered, the size and choice of deductibles, and price reductions for children. Price reductions for children end at the beginning of the year after your eighteenth birthday, when the price of basic cover jumps substantially. Those between 18 and 25 pay only a little less than those over 25.
In addition to prices going up, at 18 you are responsible for paying. For some this can involve more than just paying the current year’s premium. If your parents have failed to pay past premiums, when you turn 18 you will get a bill for the current year and any unpaid arrears.

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Some Swiss cantons overwhelmed with confessions of tax evasion

May 23, 2017

Ahead of the automatic exchange of bank account information, which comes into effect at the beginning of next year, Swiss residents with undeclared foreign bank accounts are rushing to come clean to the tax authorities, according to Swiss broadcaster RTS.
© Irakite | Dreamstime.com
According to RTS, 380 have come forward in Fribourg, 173 in Valais, 254 in Jura, around 2,000 in Neuchâtel and 4,000 in Geneva. The canton of Vaud did not provide any figures.
The head tax inspecter in Fribourg told the broadcaster that they had been receiving 50 to 60 a week. The number Fribourg has received over the last four months is as many as they received in all of 2016. The 2,000 received so far in 2017 in Neuchâtel is more than double last year’s number. Geneva though has had the largest number in absolute terms, around 4,000 compared to the 2,836 over all of 2016.
According to Roland Godel, spokesperson for Geneva’s finance department, around 80% relate to small or medium taxpayers with houses and bank accounts abroad.
Italians, Spanish and Portuguese are numerous among those coming forward, declaring houses in their home countries along with bank accounts linked to these properties.
Those declaring their undeclared assets hope to avoid fines. From 1 January 2018, Switzerland will exchange bank account information with numerous countries.

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Swiss authorities concerned about health impact of certain chemicals

May 23, 2017

© Gyuszko | Dreamstime.com 20 Minutes. A pilot bio-monitoring project in Switzerland will measure traces of pollutants and micronutrient and endocrine disruptors in organic samples. According to 20 Minutes, the impact of certain chemical products worries the authorities. The pilot project was launched last week by the executive branch of Switzerland’s government, known as the Federal …

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Strong Swiss franc could be over reckons currency strategist at UBS

May 21, 2017

© Alys | Dreamstime.com Tribune de Genève. After more than two years of a highly overvalued franc, relative to the euro, the currency should ease in the near term reckons Thomas Flury, senior currency strategist at UBS. He expects a euro to be worth 1.14 francs in 6 months and 1.16 within a year. Emmanuel …

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6 Swiss regions in Europe’s 10 most prosperous

May 20, 2017

Zurich – © Europhotos | Dreamstime.com
Six Swiss regions make the top ten most prosperous regions of Europe measured in terms of GDP per person, according to an analysis by the University of Lausanne.
The six Swiss regions are Zurich (3rd), Ticino (4th), Basel (5th), the region around Zug (6th), Bern-Solothurn (7th) and Suisse romande, Switzerland French-speaking region (8th). The only regions ranked higher were Luxembourg (2nd) and the City of London (1st). The ranking is based on 2015 data.
The City of London led with an average 212,800 euros, followed by Luxembourg (89 900), Zurich (89 571), Ticino (76,842), Basel (75,117), Greater Zug (70,876), Bern-Solothurn (69,438), Suisse romande (67,692), Stockholm (64,300), and Inner East London (64,300).
The report is focused on the Suisse romande. Between 2014 and 2105, it was one of the fastest rising regions rising from 12th to 8th in terms of GDP per person.
The ranking changes when the figures are adjusted for purchasing power, a measure which attempts to cancel out the effect of exchange rates. On this measure Suisse romande slips from 8th to 25th, a ranking that still places it in the top 10% most prosperous regions in Europe on a per capita basis.
Strong growth
GDP growth per capita in Switzerland has been solid over the 15 years from 2000.

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Poor not being pushed out of Swiss cities

May 19, 2017

It is widely believed that as the price of real estate climbs those on low incomes are forced out of city centres. A study by the University of Geneva, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office focused on the period between 2010 and 2014, shows this is not true in Switzerland.
Central Zurich – © Andreas Zerndl | Dreamstime.com
Rich leaving the centres
Those earning the most were the most likely to move and tended to move out of city centres. Among wealthy residents the net flow was out of city centres. Among the poor the net flow went in the opposite direction, except in Bern. All central city zones saw net outflows and a decline in working-age residents.
Unsurprisingly, events most likely to boost the chances of moving were an increase in pay or the loss of a job.
Immigration status appeared to have little impact on mobility.
The study found that people in German-speaking cities move more than in cities across the rest of the country.
Rising economic segregation
Analysis found an increase in economic segregation over the period. Those leaving city centres tended to move either to areas where average incomes are high or where average incomes are low, with far fewer moving to areas with middling average incomes.
Everywhere when wealthy residents leave the centre they move to wealthy areas.

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