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Switzerland remains top place for expats in 2021

5 days ago

© minnystock | Dreamstime.com Switzerland is the highest rated country in the latest HSBC expat ranking published this week, a position held for the last three years. 91% of the expats surveyed living in Switzerland said their living environment was better than it was before moving. The average on this measure across all expats questioned …

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Left out of Horizon, Switzerland starts funding its own participation

5 days ago

This week, Switzerland’s federal council released CHF 400 million to fund Swiss research projects once part of Horizon Europe, an EU research programme that is the world’s most heavily funded. Switzerland was cut out of the programme when it unilaterally ended talks with the EU aimed at agreeing a deal with the bloc.

© Korn Vitthayanukarun | Dreamstime.comSince being cut out of Horizon Europe in July 2021, the Swiss government has earmarked CHF 6.15 billion to fund research over the next 7 years. This week it released CHF 400 million of these funds, reported RTS.

Switzerland is currently deemed an unassociated third party country. This allows Swiss researchers to collaborate in roughly two thirds of Horizon Europe projects without EU financing. The Swiss government has pledged to

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Switzerland remains top place for expats in 2021

6 days ago

Switzerland is the highest rated country in the latest HSBC expat ranking published this week, a position held for the last three years.

© minnystock | Dreamstime.com91% of the expats surveyed living in Switzerland said their living environment was better than it was before moving. The average on this measure across all expats questioned was 67%.

After moving, 86% said they felt safer, another of Switzerland’s strong points among expats.

In addition, nearly 9 out of 10 expats living in Switzerland said they hoped to stay at least one year longer. A third said they would happily spend their retirement in Switzerland.

The top 10 countries in 2021 were:

SwitzerlandAustraliaNew ZealandUAEGuernseyJerseyIsle of manBahrainSingaporeQatarOverall, 61% of respondents reported

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Thousands protest against Covid measures in Switzerland

8 days ago

© Sergey Chuyko | Dreamstime.com Over the weekend, several thousand people took to Swiss streets to protest against Switzerland’s measures to reduce the impact of Covid-19, reported RTS. In Lausanne, between 800 and 1,000 people marched in protest against Covid certificates and restrictions on individual liberty. No violence or property damage was reported. In Lugano, …

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Swiss president warns nation to prepare for electricity shortages

9 days ago

According to Guy Parmelin, Switzerland’s president, it is possible the country could suffer electricity shortages for weeks or even months by 2025.

© Oliver Richter | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland faces two principal challenges when it come to electricity.

The first is that it doesn’t produce enough and must import electricity to satisfy demand. During winter around 20% of Switzerland’s electricity is supplied by Germany. With the phasing out of nuclear in Switzerland this gap is set to rise.

The second is that it relies on electricity from EU nations to plug the gap and the current EU deal on electricity sharing has been in limbo since 2018. Changes scheduled for 2025 on how the EU manages electricity could disrupt the status quo leaving Switzerland to go it alone. Switzerland’s

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Geo-blocking set to be banned in Switzerland

12 days ago

© Shutter999 | Dreamstime.com Geo-blocking is the practice of pushing online shoppers to a version of a website based on their geographic location. Many consumers would like to see the practice made illegal and Swiss laws look set to make it so, according to the NZZ am Sonntag, reported Le Matin. Geo-blocking and filtering is …

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Geo-blocking set to be banned in Switzerland

13 days ago

Geo-blocking is the practice of pushing online shoppers to a version of a website based on their geographic location. Many consumers would like to see the practice made illegal and Swiss laws look set to make it so, according to the NZZ am Sonntag, reported Le Matin.

© Shutter999 | Dreamstime.comGeo-blocking and filtering is particularly pernicious in a place like Switzerland where prices are generally much higher than the rest of Europe.

There are broadly two kinds of geography-based digital barriers thrown in front of online shoppers. The first automatically directs customers to a local site but then offers an option somewhere on the site to change the country. The other forces the customer on to a local site that cannot be navigated away from. The first is easy to circumvent. To

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Swiss unemployment down, especially among young

16 days ago

© Mcherevan | Dreamstime.com Unemployment fell from 2.7% to 2.6% in September 2021 in Switzerland, with a sharp drop among those aged 15 to 24, reported RTS. By the end of September 2021, just over 200,000 people were looking for employment in Switzerland according to Switzerland’s standard measure, which is focused on those registered with …

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Swiss opposition to extension of Covid certificates lower than perceived

19 days ago

© Cateyeperspective | Dreamstime.com According to a recent survey, one third of Swiss are against the extension of Covid certificates. But most think opposition is higher. Two thirds of those surveyed by Tamedia were happy for Covid certificates to be extended to restaurants and public spaces, reported 20 Minutes. The 67% in favour of the …

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Swiss unemployment down, especially among young

19 days ago

Unemployment fell from 2.7% to 2.6% in September 2021 in Switzerland, with a sharp drop among those aged 15 to 24, reported RTS.

© Mcherevan | Dreamstime.comBy the end of September 2021, just over 200,000 people were looking for employment in Switzerland according to Switzerland’s standard measure, which is focused on those registered with the official unemployment office, something required to collect unemployment benefits. However, it means some who run out the 2 year unemployment benefit period slip off the unemployment radar.

The rate among those aged 15 to 24 fell more that the average from 2.6% to 2.4%. The number in this age group seeking a job fell 9% to 12,553, a level 34% below where it was at the same time last year when the unemployment rate among this group was 3.6%.

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Swiss farmers hit back at nutritional labelling

19 days ago

Bulging waist lines and high rates of heart disease, cancer and type II diabetes are putting increasing pressure on healthcare systems, so the world is on the lookout for ways to tackle the problem. One is food labelling. But few producers want their products labelled as unhealthy. Swiss farmers are no exception.

© Zigmunds Dizgalvis | Dreamstime.comAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these diseases account for 71% of all deaths. Because food choices are central to the rates of these non-communicable diseases, helping the world make healthier food and drink choices makes sense.

However, nutrition is complex. Because we eat many foods it is impossible to observe the impact of a single one. Interactions between foods add to the confusion. And as the science progresses

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Assura’s health premium rise exceeds its refund

22 days ago

On 4 October 2021, Assura informed 500,000 policy holders they would receive a refund. Earlier, on 28 September 2021, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), presented the company’s premiums for 2022. For many policy holders, next year’s premium increases will substantially exceed this year’s refunds.

© Transversospinales | Dreamstime.comNext year, annual premiums under one of Assura’s plans (PharMed) are set to rise by CHF 75 for adult with a CHF 300 deductible and by CHF 62 for a child with no deductible. The annual premium increase rises to CHF 136 for an adult on the same plan with a deductible of CHF 2,500.

The refunds announced by the company on 4 October 2021 are CHF 60 per adult and CHF 30 per child.

This means a family of four could receive a CHF 180 refund this year

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Swiss advisory firms exposed in Pandora Papers

22 days ago

The Pandora Papers, a leak of more than 11.9 million files from offshore service providers, reveal the widespread involvement of Swiss advisory firms in the set up of shell companies in tax havens.

© Martin Valigursky | Dreamstime.comThe recent Pandora Papers contain far more information than the Panama Papers, which were leaked in 2016 and resulted in the fall of prime ministers in Iceland and Pakistan.

The Panama Papers came from a single source, the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The Pandora Papers come from 14 sources and reveal the real owners of more than 29,000 offshore companies, including 35 current and former world leaders and more than 336 politicians in 91 countries and territories. Gerard Ryle, from The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

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Covid: non-mRNA vaccine soon available in Switzerland

26 days ago

© Zhukovsky | Dreamstime.com On 29 September 2021, Switzerland’s government announced it had signed a contract with Johnson & Johnson to receive 150,000 doses of its Covid-19 vaccine. The delivery of the doses is expected next week. The viral vector vaccine will be used primarily on people who cannot receive mRNA vaccines for medical reasons. …

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Swiss health premiums to rise for many in 2022 despite average price fall

28 days ago

© Francisco Javier Zea Lara | Dreamstime.com Compulsory Swiss health insurance premiums are on average set to fall by 0.2% in 2022, announced the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on 28 September 2021. This is the first time since 2008 that average premiums have fallen. Basic health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland and governed …

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Swiss government defends its strategy ahead of second anti-Covid vote

September 28, 2021

Source: Facebook
On 28 November 2021, Swiss voters will be asked whether they accept laws passed by the government on 19 March 2021 that paved the way for the introduction of Switzerland’s Covid certificate, a system that provides proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test.
This is the second time a vote has been organised to challenge the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. On 13 June 2021, voters were given a chance to reverse the first batch of Swiss Covid laws. 60.21% supported the government.
The vote on 28 November 2021 aims to make Switzerland’s Covid certificates, which were introduced on 7 June 2021, illegal.
Organisers of the vote, which include a large number of people from the youth chapter of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP), have

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Swiss pandemic spending low when compared internationally

September 24, 2021

The think tank Avenir Suisse has calculated that in 2020 the Swiss federal government spent CHF 5 per person per day on the pandemic, a total of CHF 41 million a day.

© Dariusz Kopestynski | Dreamstime.comWhile an enormous sum, this compares favourably to a number of other nations. For example, the UK spent CHF 8 francs per person per day and the US government a whopping CHF 15 per person per day.

One big differentiator was Switzerland’s deployment of partial unemployment payments. This cost less than the unemployment payments made in the US, which had to be sustained for longer. Winding down Switzerland’s partial unemployment payments came with lower risks and its withdrawal had less economic impact.

In addition, Switzerland more successfully supported its economy with extra

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Nespresso capsules cannot be protected, says highest Swiss court

September 23, 2021

The shape of the Nespresso coffee capsules is ordinary and unmemorable, according to Switzerland’s highest court, reported RTS.

© Daniel127001 | Dreamstime.comIn Switzerland, inventions are protected for 20 years. After that they become part of the public domain and can be copied by anyone. Trademarked brands on the other hand last for 10 years with the possibility of perpetual renewal.

Trademarking the shape of the Nespresso capsule was Nestlé’s way to restrict competition beyond the 1996 expiry date of the product’s patent, something Nestlé pursued in 2000. Initially, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) rejected the idea before relenting.

In 2011, Nestlé tried to use its shape-based trademark to see off a competitor, Ethical Coffee, that was selling

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Swiss health insurer announces plan to refund 400 million francs

September 23, 2021

The Swiss health insurer Groupe Mutuel announced that it plans to refund CHF 400 million to its policy holders, according to RTS.

© Marlon Trottmann | Dreamstime.comThe company, which started returning money to its policy holders two years ago hopes to provide further premium rebates over the next three years.

Last year the company returned CHF 101 million and plans a repay a further CHF 113 million in 2022. Over a four year period, total repayments are expected to reach CHF 400 million, unless something unexpected or unusual occurs, said CEO Thomas Boyer.

Switzerland’s health insurers have been under pressure from the government to return their excessive reserves to policy holders. A motion accepted by parliament last week aims to force insurers to make refunds.

The refunds

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Beware of debt collection registry intermediaries, says Swiss consumer association

September 23, 2021

In Switzerland, an official document showing your debt status from the local debt collection register is required for a number of administrative tasks in Switzerland. For example, when applying for an apartment rental agreement or Swiss citizenship.

© Siriporn Kaenseeya | Dreamstime.comKnown as an extrait du registre des poursuites in French or a Betreibungsauszug in German, the document can quickly and easily be obtained online for a fee by applying directly to the relevant office – see links below.

However, various agencies also offer to provide the same documents but at a higher price.

RTS reports that FRC, a consumer association, warns the public against using these agencies. According to FRC, they add a commission without necessarily adding any value. For example, one

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Swiss tax free shopping allowance set to be cut from 300 to 50 francs

September 23, 2021

Switzerland is expensive. The prices of certain items, such as some meats and dairy products are kept especially high by a combination of trade tariffs and import restrictions. A lack of retail competition further adds to prices generally.

© Typhoonski | Dreamstime.comFor some, shopping across the border is the preferred way to avoid high Swiss prices. Around CHF 10 billion is spent annually on cross-border shopping, according to one estimate.

The current tax free limit of CHF 300 per person makes most cross border shopping trips hassle free. However, soon, cross-border shoppers could find themselves throwing their toys out of their shopping carts.

This week, a proposal to cut the tax free allowance to from CHF 300 to CHF 50 found a majority in the Council of States,

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Health expert recommends Covid certificates for Swiss ski lifts

September 18, 2021

Lukas Engelberger, head of the association of cantonal health directors, has recommended making Covid certificates compulsory for riding on Swiss ski lifts, reported Le Nouvelliste.
Verbier lift in 2020 © Le News
According to Engelberger, requiring Covid passes to access ski lifts would remove the need to wear masks and make people feel safer. In any case most skiers are likely to have a certificate, he said.
In addition, resorts would be able to increase lift capacity, carry more people and cut waiting times. Covid restrictions on lift capacity last winter season created long queues at some Swiss resorts.
Engelberger also pointed out that skiing is voluntary and recreational, a factor that would make restricting it easier to justify.
However, implementing such a

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Health expert recommends Covid certificates for Swiss ski lifts

September 18, 2021

Lukas Engelberger, head of the association of cantonal health directors, has recommended making Covid certificates compulsory for riding on Swiss ski lifts, reported Le Nouvelliste.
Verbier lift in 2020 © Le News
According to Engelberger, requiring Covid passes to access ski lifts would remove the need to wear masks and make people feel safer. In any case most skiers are likely to have a certificate, he said.
In addition, resorts would be able to increase lift capacity, carry more people and cut waiting times. Covid restrictions on lift capacity last winter season created long queues at some Swiss resorts.
Engelberger also pointed out that skiing is voluntary and recreational, a factor that would make restricting it easier to justify.
However, implementing such a

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Number of vacant homes in Switzerland drops for first time in 12 years

September 18, 2021

© Cristianzamfir | Dreamstime.com Finding a place to live in Switzerland is difficult. Home availability is low and prices are high. On 13 September 2021, the Federal Statistical Office published data showing a sharp drop in the number of vacant homes since 2020, a development that will make home hunting harder. On 1 June 2021, …

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Number of vacant homes in Switzerland drops for first time in 12 years

September 18, 2021

© Cristianzamfir | Dreamstime.com Finding a place to live in Switzerland is difficult. Home availability is low and prices are high. On 13 September 2021, the Federal Statistical Office published data showing a sharp drop in the number of vacant homes since 2020, a development that will make home hunting harder. On 1 June 2021, …

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Swiss health insurers to refund 300 million francs

September 17, 2021

Switzerland’s largest health insurers are poised to refund around CHF 300 million to policy holders, reported RTS.

© Yulan | Dreamstime.comSwitzerland’s health insurers have reserves of roughly CHF 12 billion, around 2 times the minimum reserve requirement, and have been under pressure from the government to return the money to policy holders. This week Switzerland’s parliament decided to go one step further and force them to reduce their reserves.

Parliamentarian Lorenzo Quadri said that it is time that parliament intervened so this money is returned to those who have paid excessive premiums.

The Federal Council does not believe in being as heavy handed as parliament and the motion has not been approved by the Council of States, Switzerland’s upper house. However, insurance

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Commission alarmed by the state of Switzerland’s soil

September 17, 2021

Ultimately, the plants we eat are made up of energy from the sun and compounds and elements extracted from the soil. Meat, eggs and diary are the same, just one step removed.

© Stevanovicigor | Dreamstime.comThis means the availability and nutritional value of food is heavily dependent on healthy soil.

A recently released commission report raises the alarm over the lack of information and monitoring of Swiss soil and argues the nation must work harder to protect its soil. If a global food shortage struck the country would have very little margin for maintaining food self sufficiency, reported RTS.

One key threat to Swiss soil is population growth and the related building construction, which is consuming farm land. In addition, a larger population means there are more people to

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Number of vacant homes in Switzerland drops for first time in 12 years

September 16, 2021

Finding a place to live in Switzerland is difficult. Home availability is low and prices are high. On 13 September 2021, the Federal Statistical Office published data showing a sharp drop in the number of vacant homes since 2020, a development that will make home hunting harder.

© Cristianzamfir | Dreamstime.comOn 1 June 2021, there were 71,365 vacant homes in Switzerland, representing 1.54% of the total stock of housing. Since 1 June 2020, the number of vacant homes has dropped by 7,467, a fall of 9.5%. The figure includes homes for rent and for sale.

Between 2009 and 2020, Switzerland’s stock of vacant housing rose from close to 35,000 to nearly 79,000, a rise of 126%. However, by June 2021 the number was back down from its 2020 peak to around 71,000.

Cantons with the fastest

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Swiss government extends use of Covid certificates from Monday

September 9, 2021

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On 8 September 2012, the Swiss government decided to extends the use of Covid certificates. From Monday 13 September 2021, a certificate will be required to enter bars, restaurants, museums, cinemas, theatres and pools, a system already operating in numerous countries, such as Italy.
The decision comes on a day when the health authorities announced the highest number of new daily cases in several months (3,550).
As we head towards winter, the government is concerned the number of infections will rise again and put further pressure on the health system. As the number of Covid patients rises, treatment of some non-Covid patients is being put on hold and patients are being moved around to find hospital places for them, said Alain Berset, Switzerland’s health

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Swiss to vote on raising taxes for investors and company owners

September 6, 2021

On 26 September 2021, Swiss voters will decide whether to introduce a tax increase on money earned from company ownership and investments.

© Pascal Halder | Dreamstime.comThe initiative named ‘Reduce tax on salaries, tax capital fairly’ aims to have income derived from investments and company ownership taxed at 150% of the rate applied to other income.

The argument put forward by the initiators, a group belonging to the young Socialist Party, is that income such as salary reflects human toil, while income connected to ownership and investment is passive.

The group claims that the 1% richest are living at the expense of the rest of the population and that this is exacerbated by the current tax system, essentially, arguing that the current system of progressive taxes is

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