The CSA is a world-wide network. The 140-strong Council is comprised of delegates from Swiss expatriates’ associations and communities abroad, 60 seats from within Europe and 60 from the rest of the world, and 20 delegates resident in Switzerland who have connections to the Swiss Abroad.
The number of delegates depends on the size of the registered Swiss community. Australia is entitled to four council seats and New Zealand has two seats allocated. Together they represent the region of Oceania, comprised of the English-speaking countries and territories under the diplomatic jurisdiction of the Swiss embassies in Canberra and Wellington.
At present, around 25,700 registered Swiss live in Australia and around 7,100 in New Zealand including its territories of Tokelau, Niue and Cook Islands. Around 70 registered Swiss reside in Papua New Guinea and another 100 registered Swiss live on the independent island nations of Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Nauru and Tonga.
Delegates are elected every four years by members of OSA-recognised Swiss expatriates’ associations. This modus operandi is under review. In order to increase legitimacy as representatives of their relevant community, the CSA is looking for ways to have future elections conducted in a more democratic manner that involves all registered Swiss residing in that country/region.
For the term 2017–2021 elections, Australia was one of only two countries that took part in an e-voting pilot program that gave all eligible Swiss in Australia the opportunity to elect their delegates. Regrettably, the suspension of e-voting in Switzerland – which is viewed as only a temporary set-back – necessitated the use of a less efficient ballot system for the term 2021–2025 elections.
Delegates residing in Switzerland are elected by the Council on recommendation by the Executive Board. They are personalities from the political, business and cultural fields who have the necessary expertise and connections to be able to address the concerns of their compatriots abroad and represent them effectively.
Background photo credits: Depositphotos, Francine Schaepper Photography, Organisation of the Swiss Abroad, CSA Oceania
We, the re-elected Oceania delegates to the Council of the Swiss Abroad are conducting a survey.
As representatives of our region we would like to identify the topics that matter to the Swiss Abroad and set priorities to focus on for the next four years.
Your input will help to not only identify issues but also enable us to take a well informed approach.
The anonymous survey will take less than 5 minutes of your time: https://tinyurl.com/28utn692
As happened in 2020, due to the COVID-19, the Congress of the Swiss Abroad and the meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) that were to be held in Lugano, again had to be postponed to next year. Subsequently, the Council meeting was held online, and split over two sessions. The first 5-hour long session was held late at night Australian time on 20 August, the second took place on 23 August and lasted just over 4 hours.
From 1 May 2021 the AHV/Swiss Compensation Office in Geneva requires again the Life Certificate form to be officially confirmed by a local authority (Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney, Embassy of Switzerland in Canberra, Centrelink, Public Notary, Justice of Peace).
At the next voting day in June, Swiss Abroad in Australia that are registered in the cantons of Aargau, Ticino and Geneva, will have their voting papers delivered to Australia via diplomatic courier.
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about the late arrival of voting papers in Australia. Pilot projects like these are the result of Swiss Abroad providing feedback, CSA delegates and media raising awareness and understanding and support by Members of parliament.
Swiss citizens living abroad who receive an OASI (AHV) or DI (IV) pension must submit a certified life certificate to the Central Compensation Office in Geneva (ZAS) every year. Due to the Corona pandemic, it has become difficult to visit authorities, meet deadlines and send documents by post in many countries. For this reason, the Swiss Compensation Office in Geneva is temporarily accepting life certificates by e-mail. These can be confirmed by the insured persons themselves by means of a signature (without an official stamp).
The spring meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad was held online, and split over two sessions. The first one was held on 6 February, the second on 20 March.
Last Sunday was voting day in Switzerland. For most Swiss in the Oceania region the voting material again did not arrive in time to send back or has not arrived yet at all.
If you are interested in a stay in Switzerland and working as language assistant this might be something for you!
More information and contact details can be found on the website of Movetia, click here!
Many Swiss in Oceania have expressed their frustration and disappointment on the late or non-arrival of their voting material sent by regular mail from Switzerland.
The term of your current four CSA Oceania Delegates ends mid 2021, and elections are being held in Australia starting the process early in 2021.
If you are interested in a stay in Switzerland and working as language assistant then this might be something for you!
More information and contact on the website of Movetia
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress of the Swiss Abroad and the meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) that were to be held in Lugano this August had to be postponed to next year. As a consequence – and as a first of its kind – the CSA meeting was conducted virtually, utilising the online conference system ‘Demio’. It took place on 10 July 2020 and a total of 86 delegates participated.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) on 14 March 2020 in Berne had to be cancelled. As a consequence - and as a first in the history of the organisation – the 127 delegates were asked to cast their votes electronically in matters that couldn’t be postponed until the next meeting.
Sadly, the Congress of the Swiss Abroad that was to be held in Lugano from 21 to 23 August 2020, and with it the CSA summer assembly, had to be cancelled.
Dear fellow Swiss
As you are all aware the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is quickly spreading around the world but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not changed its warning level (public health emergency of international concern) since January 30, 2020.
A lot has happened lately with regards to e-voting. There has been growing resistance and a fair bit of scare-mongering in Switzerland regarding the introduction of e-voting. Whilst the advantages are obvious to the government and the Swiss Abroad, sceptics argue that the trust in the democratic process is compromised due to e-security uncertainty and the cost of developing a secure system is also a concern. Earlier this year, a broad alliance of political parties has been collecting signatures for a popular initiative. Their aim is to ban the introduction of e-voting for at least five years.
The legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), met for its biannual meeting at the town hall in Bern on 23 March 2019. For the second time, the meeting followed on an exchange with Swiss parliamentarians for an update on political issues with relevance for the Swiss Abroad.
Canton Geneva has announced it can no longer afford to bear the cost of an e-voting system and plans to abandon the project, according to Swiss public radio, RTS. This leaves only one other e-voting project still standing in Switzerland run by Swiss Post.
Read the full Swissinfo report here
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 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.
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