The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is a centre of expertise for all issues concerning Swiss citizens living abroad and the international mobility of Swiss people. It is a non-political, non-denominational and independent, non-governmental organisation.
It was founded in 1916 by the New Helvetic Society. In 1918 the first Conference for the Swiss Abroad was held during the Basel Trade Fair. In 1919 a permanent secretariat was established in Geneva. In 1923 it moved to Fribourg and then in 1928 to Bern where it is located at 26 Alpenstrasse since 1957.
The organisation is made up of the legislative body – the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), the Executive Board, the Parliamentary Group ‘Swiss Abroad’ and the Secretariat.
The OSA works in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, Switzerland Tourism and is supported by some 750 Swiss expatriates’ associations and Swiss institutions all over the world.
The OSA cooperates closely with the federal, cantonal and communal authorities. The FDFA has concluded a service-level agreement with the OSA in which the OSA's tasks are defined on the basis of the ‘Swiss Abroad Act‘. The Confederation provides financial support.
The OSA maintains close relations between Switzerland and its citizens abroad. It supports the cross-border mobility of Swiss citizens and encourages exchange between Switzerland and its diaspora. It also focuses in particular on young Swiss people abroad. In the implementation and delivery of the youth program, the OSA works in partnership with the Foundation for Young Swiss Abroad (FYSA) and educationsuisse.
For one hundred years the mission of the OSA has been to provide support and services to Swiss expatriates world-wide and represent their interests before Swiss authorities and the public. The delivery of this mission is segmented into four pillars:
Keeping Swiss Abroad informed and in touch with current affairs and politics in Switzerland.
Providing a wide range of specialised services to promote good relations between Swiss living abroad and strengthen their ties with Switzerland.
Representing and defending the general interests of Swiss citizens living abroad before the Swiss authorities and with the public at home.
Providing free, up-to-date advice to Swiss living abroad as well as to Swiss citizens wishing to emigrate or return to Switzerland.
Click on the icon for more details about the mission or visit the website of the OSA.
On 10 March 2018, at he CSA meeting in Bern, the executive of the OSA announced that it had entered into a partnership with the Geneva Cantonal Bank (BCGE).
More information is available under the topic Swiss Banks.
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) would like to know about difficulties you have encountered in the area of health insurance and the practical problems that you face as a Swiss person living abroad. This may be of specific relevance to those living temporarily in the Oceania region or those in need for travel insurance when visiting Switzerland. By the same token, if you have had positive experiences or wish to share good practices, please do so!
The purpose is to look at ways of improving the situation of Swiss people living abroad in this regard.
You can send your experiences and suggestions to us delegates and/or directly to the head office in Bern: email@example.com
The legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), met for its biennial meeting at the town hall in Bern on 10 March 2018.
The meeting followed on an informal exchange with Swiss parliamentarians on Thursday afternoon where a first update on the political issues with relevance for the Swiss Abroad was given.
The islands of Tonga in the South Pacific have been devastated by Tropical Cyclone Gita. Winds of 230km/h have flattened parts of Parliament House and caused significant damage and injuries across the kingdom, which is made up on 176 islands, though only 40 are inhabited. Thankfully, no reports of causalities have been received. Australia and New Zealand have already dispatched emergency supplies.
The Swiss Parliament voted for the Introduction of Automatic Exchange of Information with New Zealand. A summary and comments by Peter Ehrler, New Zealand Member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad.
The Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney informs that it plans to visit the following cities with the mobile passport station:
• Brisbane (second half of May – early June)
• Mackay (second half of May – early June)
• Cairns (second half of May)
• Darwin (second half of May)
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 3 November 2017 – The federal referendum ‘Yes to the abolition of radio and television fees (abolition of Billag fees)’ intents to abolish the reception fees for licensed radio and television broadcasters with a public service obligation. The Federal Council is of the opinion that Switzerland needs a comprehensive public service in the media sector and that it cannot be financed exclusively on a commercial basis. It therefore rejects the initiative.
The Executive Board of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), like Parliament and the Federal Council, opposes the initiative, which will be voted on 4 March 2018. Public services in the information sector are of the utmost importance for Swiss Abroad.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 25 October 2017 – On Tuesday, 24 October, the governors and state secretaries of the Swiss cantons have received a letter signed by ten federal parliamentarians from the most important political parties, demanding that all Swiss Abroad be able to choose their National Councillors in the 2019 Swiss Federal Elections. The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), which has been working for years to ensure that the Swiss Abroad are able to use this voting channel, is delighted about this initiative and fully supports it.
On 27 September, the National Council (Nationalrat) followed the recommendation from the Economic Commission of the Lower House and rejected implementing the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with New Zealand. The majority of the members are of the opinion that the Swiss in New Zealand are disadvantaged over other Swiss living abroad, because of the Swiss pension (AHV) being confiscated by the New Zealand Government.
On 19 September, 2017, National Councillor and Swiss Abroad, Tim Guldimann (SP/ZH), together with 70 co-signatories, submitted a motion obliging the Federal Council to inform in the event that a draft law or a proposed amendment affects Swiss citizens abroad. This would allow deliberating such effects at an early stage in parliament.
The Swiss Council of States yesterday adopted a motion which requires all Swiss banks that are “too big to fail” to accept Swiss citizens living outside of Switzerland. The motion was submitted by Filippo Lombardi (CVP/Ticino) and adopted with 23 votes to 14 and 6 abstentions. The banks in question are UBS, Credit Suisse, Zuercher Kantonalbank, Raiffeisen and Postfinance.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 11 September 2017 – the National Council (NC) today adopted, by 178 votes to 4 with 7 abstentions, a motion tabled by the Foreign Affairs Commission of the NC on 4 July 2017. This motion requires that PostFinance revises its universal financial services to extend them to Swiss Abroad in order to enable them to fulfill their financial obligations. PostFinance, the main shareholder of which is state-owned Swiss Post, has a special responsibility towards Swiss citizens.