11 Reasons you should move to Switzerland


Famous for its beautiful landscapes, world leading salaries and overall high quality of life it is no wonder that over 2 million foreigners nationals have chosen to make Switzerland their home. 

So if you are thinking of relocating to Switzerland but need some extra convincing I have compiled this list of 11 reasons why you should consider moving to Switzerland. 

1: Job Opportunities

The first reason I want to cover and probably the reason why you are looking to move to Switzerland in the first place is job opportunities. 

For a small country of only 8.5 million people Switzerland definitely punches above its weight in terms of the variety of jobs that can be found within the country. It also has a very low unemployment rate which has been below 5% for each of the past five years.  

That is pretty much half the unemployment rate that you would find in neighboring France and Italy and about three to four times lower than other European countries like Spain and Greece which have the highest unemployment rates in Europe.

One of the reasons why Switzerland has many job opportunities for expats is that Switzerland is home to many large multinational corporations; with 15 fortune 500 companies being headquartered in Switzerland including: Glencore, Nestle, Adecco, and Credit Suisse. You will also find that many of these large multinational companies work primarily in English and have many expats working for them. 

If you are like me and work for international organizations Switzerland is arguably one of the best countries in the world to work as it hosts more than 50 international organizations including: The World Trade Organization, CERN, International Labor Organization and World Health Organization. 

In general the city you live in will play a big role in what type of job you will find since certain cities are more dominant in a particular industry than others. For example, Basel has a strong pharma industry while Zurich has a strong banking industry and for someone working in the international public sector, Geneva would probably be the most logical choice. 
I have made an entire video on which cities in Switzerland might be the best for you depending on what type of industry you work in which you can check out on our youtube channel

2: Salaries

That brings me to my next reason why you should move to Switzerland which is the high salaries that are offered within the country. I have made an entire video on salaries in Switzerland which you can watch below.

As I mentioned in that video the average expat salary in Switzerland is around $110,000 USD per year. 

But what makes Switzerland truly great is that salaries are generally high across the board with minimum wage workers typically earning around 2,500 CHF ($2,500 USD) per month after taxes. This is around double the net monthly salary that minimum wage workers earn in neighboring countries like France or Germany. 
If you have a more skilled job like an accountant, teacher, plumber or engineer it is very normal to earn between 6,000 to 8,000 CHF ($6,500-$8,700 USD) per month after taxes. In fact, according to Salary Expert 75% of people working in Switzerland earn more than 67,600 CHF ($74,000 USD) per year with the top 25% of earners over 323,000 CHF ($352,000 USD) per year.

3: Low Taxes

The next reason why you should move to Switzerland, is that unlike most other countries in Western Europe, Switzerland has relatively low levels of taxation which means your take home salary in Switzerland will be higher than what you would expect to receive in other countries. 

If you look at the pre-tax salaries of countries in Western Europe like France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium or the Netherlands you will find that they generally have pretty high pre tax salaries compared to most other countries around the world. 

However, as you can see in the table below just because you have a high gross salary doesn’t necessarily mean that your take home salary will be anywhere close to your gross pay. In fact in many Scandinavian countries or other high tax countries like Belgium or France individuals will often have effective tax rates which are over 70% of their gross income when you factor in things like income tax, social contributions and VAT. 

Country SwitzerlandDenmarkFranceBelgiumGermany
Gross Salary€100,000€100,000€100,000€100,000€100,000
Net Salary €79,000€58,377€60,087€48,500€57,572
Total Taxes Paid €21,000€41,623€39,913€51,500€42,428
Taxes Paid on€100,000 Salary in Different European Countries

Fortunately, Switzerland is one of the few countries that doesn’t follow this high tax approach.

For example let’s say you earn a gross salary of 100,000 euros per year in Switzerland that would mean that you would get to keep about 79,000 euros of that leaving you with an average tax rate of 21.1% and an effective tax rate of 25.8% when you include your employer paid social contributions. 

If you were to earn the same 100,000 euros per year salary in Belgium your take home salary would be 48,500 euros per year which is just over 30,000 euros less per year than what you would keep if you were working in Switzerland and that doesn’t even include the high taxes that your employer pays which adds an additional 25,000 euros per year to your tax bill which means that you would have an effective tax rate of 61.2% which is more than double that of what you would have living in Switzerland.

Even the VAT or Sales tax in Switzerland which sits at 7.7% for most goods is much lower than other Countries in Europe which typically have VAT rates of about 20%

What makes things even better is that despite having significantly lower taxes Switzerland still has social benefits which are at the level of or in some cases even better than those countries which have very high tax rates which makes it a real win-win situation for anyone who decides to move there.

4: Beautiful Nature

The fourth reason you should move to Switzerland is that it is jam packed with an abundance of beautiful nature.

Switzerland is known for having beautiful mountain ranges and glaciers including the world famous Matterhorn.

It is also home to several beautiful waterfalls including Rhine Falls which is Europe’s largest waterfall. 

In addition to that you have numerous beautiful lakes like lake Geneva, lake Lucerne and lake Zurich are located just steps away from some of the countries largest cities which provide you with easy access to world class water recreational activities as well as countless scenic hiking and biking trails. 

For such a small country it really does have a diverse and beautiful landscape.

Lake in the Swiss Alps

5: Safety

The fifth reason why you should move to Switzerland is because the country is very safe. 

In general you won’t need to worry much about crime when living in Switzerland with Switzerland normally being listed as one of the top 10 safest countries in the world according to various safety ranking lists.

Serious crimes like murder are very rare with most years seeing less than 50 homicides per year within the country.

To get an idea of how safe Switzerland is compared to its neighbors check out the table below which compares Swiss crime rates with those found in neighboring France and Germany.

Homicide Rate (per 100,000 people)
Assault Rate (per 100,000 people)6.9 375.6164.5
Robbery Rate (per 100,000 people) 19.3154.344.2
Sexual Assault  Rate (per 100,000 people)6.420.18.7
Burglary Rate(per 100,000 people)455.9592.1392.7

Switzerland’s well documented long time foreign policy stance of remaining neutral in matters of international affairs has meant that the country has rarely been involved in any kind of military conflict over the past 200 years; which means you won’t need to worry about the country getting dragged into any military conflicts. 
And finally, not only are you safe from a crime standpoint you are also safe from a health standpoint with Switzerland having the third highest life expectancy in the world.

6: Lots of Foreigners

The sixth reason you should consider living in Switzerland is that the country is very used to having foreigners live within their borders due to the high number of foreign nationals that have chosen to call Switzerland their home. 

In fact 25.1% of Switzerland’s entire population is made up of foreign nationals and if you look at the populations of larger cities like Basel, Geneva and Zurich you will find that foreign nationals make up between 30-40% of the local population.

This will help make you feel like less of an outsider which should help with making you feel at home in Switzerland.

7: Location

Switzerland’s strategic location in the heart of Europe gives it a number of benefits for living there. 

For one, being located in the center of Europe means that you can easily travel to neighboring countries like Germany, France, Italy and Austria by car or train. This means that once you have had a chance to explore Switzerland you can easily explore neighboring countries without having to travel too far. 

For example if you live in Zurich you can get to places like Milan, Lake Como, Lichtenstein, Freiburg, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Munich and Innsbruck in under four hours by car or train. And if you venture out just a little bit further you can be in places like Nice, Venus, Paris and Florence all within a day’s drive.

Moreover, being located in the center of Europea means that you can fly to almost any destination in Europe in under two hours which makes Switzerland a great home base to explore all that Europe has to offer. 

And finally the compact size and excellent rail network in Switzerland means that you can get to almost everywhere in the country in under two hours.

8: Winter Sport Paradise

As Switzerland is located in the Alps you are always surrounded by pristine mountain ranges which also provide the perfect backdrop for a wide variety of winter sports and other outdoor activities. 

So if you are into skiing, snowboarding or ice climbing you will find that having easy access to world class winter sport facilities will make pursuing your hobby extremely easy. 

And even if you don’t know how to do any of these sports, the fact that you have such easy access to them means you can easily try them out to see if they are activities you would like to pursue in the long run.

Snow Kiting in Switzerland

9: Education

Whether you are looking to study at a University or looking for good schools to send your children, getting a good quality and affordable education is something that is very important to a lot of people. 

Switzerland has an excellent education system which consistently ranks near the top in the world in terms of the quality of both primary and secondary education. 

In addition, it has plenty of world renowned universities including ETH Zurich, University of Geneva and University of Lausanne and is normally ranked in the top 10 of the world in university ranking lists

Switzerland also has a very good selection of international schools which cater to the high number of expats which have settled in major cities like Zurich, Geneva and Basel. 

One of the things I like about the Swiss education system is that for locals and EU nationals the tuition fees for university courses is quite reasonable averaging between €1,000-€1,500 per year. While international students will typically pay around double to attend these same universities the fees are still considerably lower than what they would be expected to pay in other countries like the United States, Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom.

10: Work Life Balance in Switzerland

If you plan on coming to Switzerland from regions like North America or Asia where long working hours are the norm, you will be pleased to know that Switzerland has a much better work life balance than most other countries. 

For example, in terms of vacation you can normally expect to receive four weeks or 20 days of paid leave per year. In addition, you will get anywhere between 9 to 16 days of additional days off for various public holidays which vary a bit depending on which Canton you are in. 

This means that out of the 365 days of the year you will typically only have about 250 working days which will provide you with plenty of opportunity to relax and enjoy all that Switzerland has to offer. 

Work life balance for working moms is particularly good, with Switzerland having the highest rate of part time working women amongst developed nations. 

Switzerland’s excellent work life balance is also bolstered by the fact that the Swiss like to adhere to strict office hours which means you will rarely find anyone in the office just a few minutes after the close of the business day.

11: Things Just Work

And the final reason you should move to Switzerland is that everythings just seems to work like it is supposed to. 

In my 30 plus years of living in over 10 different countries around the world I have lived in countries that were either overly bureaucratic or faced difficulties due to high levels of corruption. This would make a lot of otherwise simple tasks unnecessarily difficult.

If you move to Switzerland you won’t need to worry about things like bureaucracy as much as you would in other countries in Europe or get yourself caught up in a sticky situation due to corruption as these issues are not really prevalent in Switzerland. 

In fact, Switzerland is well known for its efficiency and high levels of work productivity with the country typically being considered one of the top 3 countries in the world when it comes to work productivity. 

This is in large part due to the way the country is set up in which the different Cantons end up competing with each other in order to make themselves more attractive to businesses; which leads them to establish very straightforward and business friendly rules and regulations.  

Even the way Switzerland handles politics by employing a direct democracy approach which often uses referendums to make major political changes is far less complex than the more “typical” forms of democracy that we see other countries around the world using. 


That sums up my 11 reasons why you should consider moving to Switzerland.

Hopefully this has helped you in deciding whether a move to Switzerland is worth it for you. 

If you are still trying to decide whether or not to move to Switzerlands makes sense for you, why not check out one of the other Switzerland articles I have written below.

Maurits Beltgens

Hi there! I am the founder of Expat Well. I am originally from the Netherlands but have spent the last 30 years living as an expat in different countries including: Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Poland, United Kingdom and United States. I created Expat Well with the aim of providing fellow expats with the information they need to successfully navigate their life abroad.

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