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Moving to Switzerland: Is the Game Worth the Candles and Is Switzerland Expat-Friendly?

For wealthy foreigners and overseas entrepreneurs, Switzerland is a promised land. Among the world’s richest countries, Switzerland is often the jurisdiction of choice to set up family offices, funds, holding companies, and bank accounts. Expats mostly head for affordable living costs, and high salaries, as well as living in an advanced modern economy and enjoying all the benefits associated with the lifestyle.

Immigration to Switzerland

Yet, Switzerland can’t be a safe haven to live in, work, and do business for everyone. Against the background of the global crisis and sanctions in 2023, the country’s government is worried about population numbers in Switzerland. As a result of people relocating from Ukraine, CIS, Russia, Kosovo, and other jurisdictions in great numbers, the number of immigrants is growing rapidly in other big states as well.

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Are expats happy in Switzerland? What is the best jurisdiction to move to, be it for a short while or forever? The question is truly complex, and to answer it, expert assistance may come in handy. At International Wealth, experienced industry experts will help you choose the safest immigration route, and obtain a residence permit or citizenship abroad under any of the immigration programs currently available.

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Why was Switzerland named the best country overall?

In 2022, Switzerland again topped the world’s best countries rating.  Based on the results of the analysis performed, the jurisdiction received maximum points for the following:

  • 100 points for business openness
  • 96.7 points for living standards
  • 86.6 points for social policy. 

Modern Switzerland is among the world’s richest countries offering decent education and healthcare standards to foreigners. Unemployment is low (5%), while the per capita GDP in Switzerland amounts to USD 77,324. 

Supported by low corporate tax rates, a well-developed service industry headed by a powerful finance sector, as well as the country’s high-tech manufacturing industry, the Swiss economy is strong and booming.  

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FYI: Canada, Germany, the US, and Sweden also made it to the top of the above 2022 rating. To learn how you can move to any of the said states, please, message the International Wealth experts at [email protected]

Living standards and safety in Switzerland in 2023

Although not No. 1 in all the categories, Switzerland excelled in the key criteria.

Business immigration to Switzerland – 100 points

The above number illustrates the friendly attitude business people and expats about to launch a company in Switzerland enjoy in the jurisdiction. The government of Switzerland has created a superb environment for businesses to flourish by offering them tax benefits and inviting highly skilled labor to the country.

Low unemployment in Switzerland and the per-capita GDP that is among the highest overall proves that Switzerland is a global leader in the said category.

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Supported by the International Wealth seasoned experts, you will seamlessly incorporate a company in Switzerland. We offer our customers comprehensive turn-key services alongside free consultations as to company setup in Switzerland. We will support you till your business has been set up successfully.

Living standards in Switzerland – 96.7 points

Here belong several subcategories:

  • access to food and nutrition
  • affordable housing
  • education and healthcare quality
  • employment issues
  • political stability
  • individual freedom and environmental quality.

In all the above categories, Switzerland keeps the top position.

Social goals – over 86 points

The criterion determines how well the Swiss government takes care of the universal values below:

  • people and animals
  • environment
  • freedom of faith
  • racial equality
  • proprietary rights
  • social justice.

In Switzerland, all of the above values are paid much attention to. Every Swiss citizen has the right to use the country’s legal standards and laws to protect their interests.

Security and crime in Switzerland

Below, countries with the lowest crime rate and the highest security rate in 2023 are listed:

  1. Slovenia – 24.2
  2. Bahrain – 24.0
  3. Switzerland – 23.6
  4. Japan – 23.1
  5. Armenia – 22.0
  6. Hongkong (China) – 21.5
  7. Oman – 19.7
  8. Isle of Man – 18.0
  9. Taiwan (China) – 16.2
  10. United Arab Emirates  – 15.1
  11. Qatar – 14.8.

NB: Switzerland is among the countries that are safe to live, work, and do business in 2023. This applies to everyone, including expats and foreign citizens. 

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On the International Wealth corporate website, you can find further info about each jurisdiction, including information about immigration programs and services offered by the International Wealth team.

Switzerland as an ICT hub

ICT companies in Switzerland make use of electric and communication infrastructure. Swiss telecommunication companies that are the 5th fastest in the world as far as Internet connection speeds are concerned (and No. 2 in Europe) are well aware of the benefits that broadband expansion comes with.

Google, Microsoft, Evernote, and common people alike profit from fast broadband connections and ICT infrastructure. At the same time, in the absence of electric power, the Internet would be useless. Switzerland exports electricity that is generated in ever-growing amounts from renewable energy sources at water, wind, and solar power stations. With a secure electrical infrastructure in Switzerland, smooth server operation with constant cooling is guaranteed. 

Fintech infrastructure in Switzerland

An international financial hub, Switzerland boasts investment banks that are well aware of the issues their customers face and ways to successfully deal with them. The financial infrastructure of Switzerland is of major importance for the country’s economy today. Regardless of the crisis and sanctions, both HNWIs and wealthy people keep opening Swiss bank accounts. 

Lately, Switzerland has achieved great progress with innovations, both inside the country and abroad, financial technologies (a.k.a. fintech), blockchain, and cryptocurrencies. The country’s banking industry has been recognized as the safest and the most reliable in the world to manage capital and investment assets. 

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To remotely set up a foreign bank account in next to no time, you are welcome to benefit from the services the International Wealth experts provide. As a result, you will be able to duly diversify your assets without further delay.

Healthcare and longevity in Switzerland

Switzerland is considered to come 2nd after Japan in the number of people aged 100. According to Eurostat, Switzerland boasts the highest life expectancy in Europe at 83 years and 7 months. In the last 150 years, the expected life span grew by 98 percent for men and by 96 percent for women, with a slight decrease due to the 1918 flu pandemic

In Switzerland, about 11.4% of the country’s GDP goes to support and expand the healthcare infrastructure. This is the highest number as compared to all the EU member states. Basic health insurance is mandatory, and the Swiss are free to select an insurance company to service them. Switzerland used to be the only jurisdiction in Europe with health expenditure over EUR 4500 per capita.  

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Both infrastructure and living standards are at the highest level in Switzerland, which is extremely appealing for foreign business people and HNWIs. If you feel like obtaining a residence permit and/or incorporating a company in Switzerland, Europe, or any other jurisdiction, don’t hesitate to contact the International Wealth experts for a free consultation. 

Is Switzerland friendly to EU expats and expats from other states?

The Swiss are mostly neutral on expats in Switzerland without treating them as family and society members. This is especially noticeable for citizens from countries that have not joined the European Union or those who come from high-risk jurisdictions. 

At the same time, you can comfortably move to Switzerland, find a job, and make friends and acquaintances among other expats in the jurisdiction, yet establishing close contacts and making friends with native Swiss people is only possible after you have lived several years in the country. The amount of non-native Swiss in this situation is striking. As of today, one-fourth of all people living in Switzerland are foreigners, with business people, students, HNWIs, and labor immigrants among them. 

How authorities treat expats in Switzerland

In early 2023, SVP, the most popular party in Switzerland, held a referendum calling for the revision of international treaties or even their complete renunciation if the population of Switzerland reaches 10 million. 

According to the SVP representatives, it is high time to raise the red alarm as the Swiss population has increased dramatically and delays may have dangerous ends. After the war broke out in Ukraine, the number of refugees and immigrants keeps growing, while the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo results in an ever-increasing number of expats that enter Switzerland. As of 2023, the Swiss population is rapidly approaching 9 million. In 2022 alone, a total of 145,958 people moved to Switzerland, and the country’s population has grown by 21% within the last 20 years.

Immigration to Switzerland: prospects for 2023

On January 1, 2023, Switzerland introduced certain amendments to its immigration laws. At the same time, general provisions as to 2023 quotas remained the same as in 2022.

In 2023, quotas for labor immigrants in Switzerland were as follows:

  • Quotas for nationals of non-EU/non-EFTA member states:
    • 4500 long-term labor permits (type B)
    • 4000 short-term labor permits (type L)
  • Quotas for UK nationals and persons coming from non-EU member states:
    • 2100 long-term labor permits (type B)
    • 1400 short-term labor permits (type L)
  • Since January 1, 2023, quotas for Croatian nationals will be issued subject to certain limitations as the number of Croatian employees has exceeded the limits stipulated under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP). In general, a total of 2157 work permits will be issued to Croatian expats willing to work in Switzerland.
  • A total of 3500 labor permits will be issued to persons from the EU and the EFTA member states:
    • 3000 short-term labor permits (type L)
    • 500 long-term labor permits (type B)

FYI: nationals of non-EU states have the hardest time obtaining residence permits and confirming they are naturalized in Switzerland. To move to Switzerland the soonest, the International Wealth experts recommend you consider various ways and methods to accelerate your relocation to Switzerland, including, inter alia, by obtaining a residence permit in other states

Living and working in Switzerland – level of friendliness does matter for would-be immigrants

If authorities of the country you are about to relocate to are not particularly friendly to nationals of certain states and the locals do not treat them as equal, it makes sense to consider more comfortable and not-so-challenging immigration destinations.

In the case of Switzerland, it is hard to say whether the jurisdiction is immigrant-friendly. According to expats themselves, the locals are not eager to consider them their people and if a labor immigrant comes from a non-EU state, it will be extremely challenging for them to obtain a residence permit and citizenship in Switzerland.

Switzerland is still among the world’s top financial centers to open a bank account and keep your money. In this particular case, it does not matter whether a move to Switzerland will make you happy, regardless of whether you are an expat, a business person, or just a traveler. Preserving your assets and protecting them from currency, political, and economic crises and risks to the max is much more important.

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For any further questions you may have as to moving to Switzerland or selecting a country to open a personal or a corporate bank account, you are encouraged to book a consultation with the International Wealth pros. Thereat, you will discuss all issues bothering you with the industry’s best. To book the consultation, please message International Wealth using the contact info from our corporate website.

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