Working in switzerland – tips on taxes, social security and housing

working in switzerland - tips on taxes, social security and housing

Since the Alpine country between France, Italy, Germany and Austria pays the highest salaries in the world, working in Switzerland can really pay off. On the other hand, of course, the cost of living is correspondingly high. As a German commuter living near the border and performing work in Switzerland, you have the advantage of enjoying the wage benefits while making your purchases in Germany. Yet Zurich and Basel – the two cities with the highest earning potential – are not far from the border.

As an EU citizen, you are on an equal footing with the Swiss in the labor market and only need a valid ID card or passport to enter the country. However, if it is still necessary for you to move to Switzerland altogether, there are other points to consider.

General work situation

The decline in growth in the EU has also had an impact on working in Switzerland. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate is so low that one can almost speak of full employment. There is a high demand for skilled workers, especially in the fields:

  • Chemical industry
  • Construction industry
  • IT and communications technology
  • Environmental technology
  • Medical technology
  • Car industry
  • Craft (plumber, electrician, carpenter, painter and upholsterer)
  • Healthcare sector (doctors, nurses and caregivers)

If you get such a job, you must also come up with the necessary motivation. After all, working weeks of 42 hours are not uncommon here, and there are also fewer public holidays and vacations than in Germany. For this it is financially worthwhile. Many Swiss salary models rely on a reward system where, in addition to the basic salary, a commission is paid for reaching a certain target. In general, the gross income for working in Switzerland is on average 25% higher than in Germany, plus the low tax burden and the low social security contributions.

Social security and taxes

working in switzerland - tips on taxes, social security and housing

In contrast to Germany, health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland, but not through the employer. You will have to look for insurance yourself. The contributions of the various insurance companies do not depend on the amount of income and also not on gender or state of health, but are only different from region to region. The range of services also varies. While the basic benefits for outpatient and inpatient treatment are included everywhere, the trip to the dentist must be insured separately. A significant difference in insurance carriers is the regulation of continued payment of wages in case of illness. Here you should also consider an additional insurance for the daily allowance. While the form of health insurance is more reminiscent of private insurance in Germany, accident, pension and unemployment insurance are regulated similarly to those in the Federal Republic of Germany.

The amount left over once all social contributions have been deducted from the salary serves as the basis for income taxation. This is divided into municipal, cantonal and federal taxes, which is why the tax rate can range from 5 to 20 percent, depending on where you live and the amount of your salary.

For commuters and non-Swiss nationals without a residence permit, withholding tax is levied, the amount of which varies from canton to canton.

Residence permit for Switzerland

working in switzerland - tips on taxes, social security and housing

If you want to settle completely in Switzerland, you have to register at the respective employment office and at the municipality of residence of the responsible canton. It is necessary to already have a health insurance and an employment contract. The duration of the residence permit is in fact based on the duration of the employment contract. In the case of unlimited contracts, the general residence permit of 5 years is generally granted, which you can extend at the end of the period by presenting a valid ID and proof of employment.

Should you emigrate with your family, your spouse and any children under 21 will receive a permit for the same residency period you were granted.

Housing in Switzerland

Once you have found a job in Switzerland, the only thing missing is inexpensive accommodation. But especially in urban areas, housing is scarce and prices are correspondingly high. Outside the metropolitan areas, on the other hand, many houses and apartments are empty. Compared to Germany, however, rental costs are high everywhere. To find an affordable place to stay, you should thus include all search options. The real estate advertisements in the daily newspaper are already indispensable aids there. Small local papers can also be useful here. In addition, there are the services that the Internet can offer you. In addition, many municipalities maintain real estate listings of vacant residential properties.

If you absolutely need accommodation in a city, you can also contact the property management directly. If none of this helps, there is always the option of hiring a broker.

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