The delegates from all over the world meet twice a year in Switzerland to discuss current topics and decide on important matters. The meetings are streamed live from the ASO webpage and can be viewed on SwissCommunity's youtube channel any time after. Summaries of the meetings, as written by the CSA Oceania delegates, can be found below:
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.
Anyone wishing to take out voluntary OASI cover should apply to the Swiss Compensation Office (SCO) in Geneva within one year of leaving the compulsory OASI scheme.
The Swiss OASI is not automatically paid out when reaching pension age. You need to apply for your OASI. It is recommended to apply about 5-6 months in advance. There are several forms to be filled out with documentation to be submitted to the OASI office in Geneva. All information and list of documents required are available and listed online. If you do not apply you will not receive any OASI. The OASI Office in Geneva will not send you a prior notification for eligibility.
Why do some apply for the Swiss OASI (Old Age and Survivor's Insurance) AHV before reaching the regular pension age? Read more in this article by Peter Ehrler, Elected Member of the Swiss Abroad, Representing New Zealand.
Australia and Switzerland have signed a revised tax treaty. The agreement includes the automatic exchange of information. The revised treaty enters in force on 1.1.2018, however data will be collected in both countries from 2017 and then exchanged from 2018.
For more information click here.
Why not apply and receive your Swiss Pension (AHV) 2 or 3 years earlier? Food for thought in an article by Peter Ehrler, Elected Member of the Swiss Abroad, Representing New Zealand. Read here.
The Swiss AHV/AVS and NZ Pension has been a long standing issue in need for a solution, as New Zealand automatically deducts the Swiss Pension from the NZ Pension. In the context of the federal consulation process to a new automatic information exchange treaty between Switzerland and New Zealand, the Swiss Society of New Zealand voiced their opinion. They were urging the Swiss Government not to sign anything with New Zealand until the AHV/Pension issue is resolved. In December 2017, the Swiss Parliament voted vor the introduction of the treaty despite all efforts to delay this approval. More information here.
There is a Foundation administered by the Organisation for the Swiss Abroad (OSA) which helps Swiss Citizens living Abroad who qualify and maybe in need of financial support after a natural disaster such as the Christchurch earthquake, the hurricane/tropical storms in Vanuatu and in Fiji.
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.
The Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney and the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington inform that they plan to visit the following cities with the mobile passport station:
• Auckland (May)
• Northland (May – only if sufficient interest)
• Perth (first half of April)
• Melbourne (October)
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