Please find here a short summary of the most common questions asked by consultants moving to Switzerland

Do I have to take out Swiss health insurance?

  • Yes, the Swiss law on health insurance (LAMal) states that you must have Swiss health insurance for the duration of your assignment in Switzerland.

How much does Swiss health insurance cost?

  • The premiums depend on the level of cover and, among other things, the excess that you choose but start around CHF 200 per month.

Can I just use my BUPA/other private health cover?

  • In our experience, most Swiss communes will not accept foreign private health cover.

I am not an EU national, can I get a work permit?

  • For non-EU nationals it is much more difficult to obtain a work visa. In most cases, only the company for whom you will work will be able to obtain one for you and then only if you are directly employed by them.

How much tax will I have to pay?

  • The tax structure in Switzerland is extremely complex and depends not only on your personal situation (marital status, etc.), but also on where you are living (Zug and Schwyz are often quoted as the cheapest cantons to live in, while Geneva and Neuchâtel are quite expensive).
  • Typical costs for tax and social security vary between 30% and 40%.

Can you help me find accommodation?

  • As we are not present all over Switzerland, we will not assist you in finding accommodation.  Local contacts or letting agents may be able to help.

I need help with my Swiss tax return, can you help? How much will it cost?

  • We are happy to help; the costs will vary depending on your situation. Please contact our team for more information.

I’ve heard a lot about the Swiss pension structure, but I don’t understand it: can you explain?

  • The Swiss pension structure is made up of three “pillars”:
    • 1st pillar is a mandatory state pension scheme and contributions are income-dependent.  Once you have contributed for 12 months you will be entitled to a partial state pension from Switzerland when you reach retirement age.
    • 2nd pillar is a mandatory company pension scheme and contributions are income- and age-dependent.. The capital can be transferred to a foreign pension plan, upon permanent departure from Switzerland, or used to start a business or buy a principal residence in Switzerland or the EU. You may also make additional contributions as a tax-saving measure.
    • 3rd pillar is an optional top-up personal pension plan, available from banks and insurance companies, which has some tax advantages.

What do I have to do to register in Switzerland?

  • You should normally register within 8 days of arrival.  When you sign up with Sigma, we will talk you through every step of the process as this can change from commune to commune. We will let you know exactly where to go, when to go there, and what to take with you!

How do tax payments work in Switzerland?

  • As a short-term resident, you will be taxed at source (similar to UK PAYE). We will handle all tax and social security contributions for you and provide you with detailed monthly salary statements.

Can my family come with me?

  • If you have a work and residence permit your family may join you in Switzerland.  Each family member must register and obtain a resident permit.