If you are thinking of immigrating to Switzerland, the process will almost certainly start with your discovery that the cost of living in Switzerland is rather high. This expense carries across the board: food, accommodation, everything. Why is Switzerland so expensive? There are a number of reasons.
Firstly, the standard of living is very high. Rented accommodation is pricey, and also rather rare throughout the country, but once you have secured your home, you will find everything in good condition, with your landlord held to much higher standards than are often found elsewhere, even in other first-world countries.
Secondly, in Switzerland average income is uniformly higher than in other countries, enabling those higher prices to be paid without too much stress or worry. Thanks to the largely socialist basis on which the country operates, no citizen is left to become homeless or go bankrupt in the way that can happen in capitalist economies.
The Swiss healthcare system is provided by insurance companies, and anyone moving into the country must take out a policy within three months of moving to the country. However, unlike American insurance schemes, which are run for profit, Swiss healthcare insurance is operated affordably – again, those generous salaries coming into play – and deductibles (the amount the patient must pay after the insurance company has made their contribution) are capped. As well as the basic, compulsory policies, Swiss residents are able to purchase 'add-on' insurance to cover costs that would otherwise not be met.
Once you move to Switzerland and begin to work and live there (for more than 30 days, generally), you are considered a resident of the country, and as such you are liable to pay tax. There is no expat tax as such, but you will be expected to pay tax on any earnings made from work done in the country. There are some exemptions – such as earnings made from property outside Switzerland – but in general, anyone living in the country must pay a fair amount of tax.
The employment market in Switzerland tends to be very stable, with people largely tending to stay in their jobs for decades once they are settled. This means that for expat jobs Switzerland is quite a tough market to break into, and anyone thinking of moving to the country should make the effort to find work beforehand, and should generally have qualifications that mean their skills are in high demand.
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