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.
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 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.
From 13 April to 29 September 2019, the Swiss Abroad will be featured in the Swiss History Forum in Schwyz as part of the exhibition ‘Switzerland elsewhere’.
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
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)
Saturday, 15 September saw the ‘Young Swiss Citizen Celebration’ being held for the third time in Victoria. 15 young Swiss who recently celebrated their 18th birthday, and therefore have become fully-fletched Swiss citizens with all the rights and obligations that this entails, followed the invitation by the Hon. Consul, Manuela Erb, to a luncheon at the Swiss Club of Victoria. They were accompanied by their mums and dads, grandparents and brothers and sisters.