The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is the centre of expertise on all matters concerning Swiss citizens living abroad. It s a politically and religiously neutral, independent, non-government 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 Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) is the legislative body of the OSA. Day-to-day business is handled by the Executive Board 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.
The mission of the OSA is 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.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 28 June 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) welcomes the Federal Council’s decision to commission the Federal Chancellery with the preparation of a project that makes e-voting a regular voting option. This decision represents a significant step forward in the introduction of e-voting and recognises it as a safe and reliable option. For Swiss Abroad, this e-voting is often the only way to exercise their political rights.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 13 June 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) representing the interests of 751,800 compatriots living abroad, is disappointed that the Council of States today rejected Motion 17.3626 by 30 votes to 9 with 4 abstentions. The Council of States has decided not to follow the majority of its Foreign Policy Commission (APK-S) and has rejected a motion calling on PostFinance to accept Swiss Abroad on similar terms as citizens residing in Switzerland. The problem that has existed for our compatriots living abroad for ten years remains unresolved.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 30 May 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is relieved that the Council of States has today decided to follow the recommendation of its Commission on Social Security and Health (SGK-S) to delete the amendment to Article 4 (1) in the context of the supplementary benefits reform. This means that the current rules remain in place. Last March, the National Council approved an application whereby Swiss Abroad would have had to pay social security contributions (AHV) for at least ten years in order to qualify for supplementary benefits, which would have discriminated against Swiss Abroad.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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.
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.
Are you receiving an income from the Swiss Social Insurance (AHV/AVS or IV/AI)?
You may be entitled to claim a tax deduction in Australia for personal contributions paid into the insurance.