According to first enquiries a basic online bank account is apparently available from CHF 6/month. The terms and conditions depend on the individual circumstances of the applicant and interested Swiss Abroad in Oceania are urged to make their own enquiries directly with the bank.
While this can be viewed as a very positive development, time will tell how sucessful it will be in practice. If you have any experience to share – positive or negative, please contact your delegates. We are very keen to gather as much information as possible from Swiss Abroad wishing to establish a bank account with BCGE.
Since 2008 it has become increasingly difficult for the Swiss Abroad to open or maintain a bank account in Switzerland within reasonable conditions.
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) has undertaken several interventions in order to find a solution to this problem, which affects a considerable number of Swiss citizens abroad.
For one the OSA has intervened directly with the banks, and indirectly through the Swiss Bank Association, the Association of State Banks (Kantonalbanken), the Swiss Banking Ombudsman and the Federal Department of Finance. The OSA also contacted the price-supervisor who conducted an investigation into the banking conditions for Swiss Abroad.
Several parliamentary interventions were submitted and the OSA has given statements to legal consultations. Unfortunately, on 4 May 2017, the National Council has narrowly rejected a motion by Roland Rino Büchel (SVP/SG). The move demanded that all Swiss Abroad be allowed to open a bank account with a Swiss system-relevant bank.
Within a very short time, numerous complaints about discriminatory business practices were submitted by Swiss abroad, media presence was sought by the OSA directorate and two new parliamentary interventions were lodged. One was to oblige banks to publish relevant information, data on bank expenses, interest rates and other offers, on the websites of the foreign ministry and Switzerland’s diplomatic representations abroad for the Swiss overseas communities. The other parliamentary motion demanded that PostFinance, the banking arm of the state-run Post Office, should be obliged to provide equal services to all Swiss citizens, regardless of where they live.
Both motions were approved in the first instance but were defeated in the House of Representatives in June 2018. Despite yet another disappointing setback, it is encouraging that more and more federal parliamentarians seem to be willing to listen – maybe also with a view to the upcoming federal elections in 2019.
The problem remains unresolved and our struggle will continue. If you are a Swiss citizen in our region of Oceania and you are affected by the banking problem, we CSA Oceania want to hear from you. Please share your experience with us, so that we can be a strong voice in Bern.
To establish a basic overview of the conditions applied by financial institutions in Switzerland for Swiss clients abroad, the OSA has conducted a survey in November 2016.
Background photo credits: Depositphotos, Francine Schaepper Photography, Organisation of the Swiss Abroad, CSA Oceania
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.
Are you a student or graduate from a university, university of applied arts and sciences, a teacher training college or a qualified teacher seeking experience?
The exchange-programs offered by Movetia gives young students and graduates from abroad the opportunity to work as language teaching assistants in Swiss grammar schools, vocational schools and vocational baccalaureate schools. As native speakers, they bring a unique richness to the teaching of languages, as well as exemplifying cultural aspects of their country of origin.
The program is for young Swiss Abroad who were either born in a country where English, German, French, Spanish or Italian is the official national language or have lived there from the age of four. The paid position begins after the summer holidays and usually lasts a whole school year. The deadline for applications for the school year 2020/21 is 13 March. For further information and registration, please see the website.
The team of the Consulate General in Sydney will be visiting Brisbane QLD from 24 April to 1 May 2020 with the mobile passport station.
Provided enough interest is received, Cairns QLD will also be visited during this time.
Registered citizens in QLD, NT and northern NSW will be contacted by email or letter two months prior to the visit with detailed information regarding dates, venues and procedures. Please ensure that the Consulate General has your up-to-date personal data and email address.
The Consulate General aims to provide this service to its compatriots rotating the locations, servicing each capital city on a regular basis.
Saturday, 5 October saw the ‘Young Swiss Citizen Celebration’ being held for the fourth time in Melbourne. 13 young Swiss who recently celebrated their 18th birthday, and thus became fully-fletched Swiss citizens, followed the invitation by the Hon. Consul, Manuela Erb, to a luncheon at the Swiss Club of Victoria. They were accompanied by families and friends.
CSA elections in 2021: because the Swiss e-voting systems are on hold until further notice, direct election via e-voting of the CSA delegates (as per pilot projects in Australia and Mexico in 2016) will not be possible. The CSA Delegates in Australia will have the job to organise the next elections without certainty of assistance at this stage. Importance is given to umbrella organisations in countries where they exist, which will have the task to organise fair and democratic elections. Default solution is the ‘old System’ each country carried in the past.
The 50th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Summit took place in Tuvalu from 13 to 16 August, 2019.
Switzerland is a success story, but it will have to evolve under fast changing international conditions. Therefore, foreign policy will become more important for Switzerland’s prosperity and security. Starting from these reflections, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis established the AVIS28 working group in 2018 with the aim to define a coherent and adaptive foreign policy vision for Switzerland for 2028. AVIS28 is a source of inspiration and new ideas, and at the same time, it should initiate a broad discussion on the future of Swiss foreign policy. Switzerland needs the courage to change. Its foreign policy must become more focused, networked and agile. Switzerland should also work more closely with like-minded states, like Australia and New Zealand, towards their common goals.
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.
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.