Kingpin’s guide to living and working in Zurich
Zurich is considered to be Switzerland’s economic and financial centre and one of the world’s most influential money management arenas. Its economic stability and focus on financial services makes Zurich the ideal location for expat tax professionals, who are drawn to the high standards of living and long-term career opportunities.
So, if you are interested in the exciting opportunities that Kingpin has to offer in Zurich, here’s what you need to know about relocating…
Making the move
By working in Zurich’s taxation sector, you will be participating in one of the world’s most competitive worldwide economies and in Switzerland’s strongest economic region – 21.9% of the country’s GDP comes from this city alone. A job in a new country brings up a number of questions, including those relating to work permits and visas, this is why it is always advised to start your job search with a knowledgeable international recruitment agency.
Financially, the climate in Zurich is attractive. It boasts high standards of living, beneficial taxation rates, high levels of income and low crime levels, as well as being secure and politically stable. However, similarly to other influential cities, the cost of living in Zurich is also fairly high.
Lifestyle: what can you expect?
Aside from being a good place to work, Zurich is a great place to live. It’s proximity to the Swiss Alps and countryside makes for a scenic environment with plenty of recreational activities. Switzerland is also notoriously clean and is committed to being a country that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. There is plenty to see and do within the city, particularly in the mediaeval Old Town which boasts numerous bars, restaurants and a variety of shops.
The transportation system in Zurich will seem equally luxurious. Alongside a well-developed transport infrastructure, trains are clean, comfortable and extremely punctual; while trams are a cheap and efficient way of getting around the city.
There are four national languages within Switzerland – German, Italian, French and Romansh. Zurich is within the ‘Deutschweiz’ area – the German-speaking part of Switzerland, though most natives use Swiss German dialects and Standard German for written documents. So if you’re planning the move, a strong grasp of the German language would be advantageous, however, English is widely used in business circles.
Housing – rentals and purchases
Due to high purchase prices and building costs, rented accommodation is prevalent in Zurich. Over 70% of the Swiss population rent their homes, which means that accommodation can be expensive and hard to find. If you are responsible for your own relocation, searching for accommodation is certainly made easier by being in the area itself beforehand or by having a real-estate agent/relocation agency to advise you.
The majority of accommodation – particularly within the City of Zurich – is found within apartment buildings. Costs of these can vary, with the average cost of a three-bedroom apartment in the city being around £2,200.
In Zurich, obligatory schooling begins at the age of four. At this age, education starts in kindergarten prior to enrolling at a primary school. Primary schooling is separated into two levels – years one to three, and years four to six. Following grade six, pupils attend secondary school for three years, after which they can apply for an upper secondary school called ‘Gymnasium’ which is intended as a preparatory school prior to university.
Public schooling Zurich is largely free, though some expats may prefer an English-speaking international school for their children.
Citizens of Switzerland (including expats) that have resided in the country for more than three months are required by law to have adequate health insurance. There are numerous companies that provide health insurance in Switzerland, and choosing one depends on your requirements. Basic packages will cover expenses related to essential healthcare in the event of an accident or illness. Depending on your needs age, premiums vary from between CHF 30 and CHF 350, it’s worth comparing these before entering into a contract with one provider.
The only instances that an individual may be exempt from paying health insurance are cases where the person holds a European Health Insurance Card or is privately insured with a company which is recognised by the Swiss authorities.