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One of the world's most economically successful countries, Switzerland is famed
for its safe, clean cities, efficient public transport, mountainous landscapes,
and the quality of its healthcare system. This small, prosperous nation is also
famed for diversity - with 26 individual subdivisions (or cantons) each with
their own constitution and laws, and four official languages spoken across the
country as a whole.
The quality of life Switzerland offers is highly valued by locals and expats
alike, and the country scores remarkably well in quality of life surveys.
Zurich, Geneva and Bern all ranked in the top 10 city rankings for Mercer's most
recent Quality of Living Survey - giving Switzerland an enviable presence in the
upper reaches of the quality of life list.
While Switzerland's reputation for efficiency and an orderly way of doing
things is famous, it's perhaps less well-known that it is also very much an
expat location too. In fact, nearly a quarter of the people permanently resident
in Switzerland are from other countries. The biggest expat populations in
Switzerland are from Germany and Italy, and the numbers of people from more
distant countries making this nation their home is on the increase.
The Swiss healthcare system is often held up as an example of excellence not
just in terms of the high quality of care it offers but also for it positive
effect on measures such as life expectancy. For anyone living in Switzerland
longer than three months, health insurance is compulsory. In many cases this
will be purchased through a regional provider.
However, depending on which canton an expat is going to be a resident of, any
international private medical insurance policy already owned may be accepted as
valid - so checking this with the municipality registration office is an
important first step on arrival.
For expats who are living in a Swiss canton where an international health
cover policy isn't valid, many people still purchase global cover as well as
local health insurance within their canton. If someone is only resident in the
country for part of the year, an international policy means being covered for
the time not spent in Switzerland. International health cover also means that
there is the option of elective treatment overseas, as well as coverage for
emergency medical repatriation.
The number of expatriates worldwide now stands at around 232 million.
After being revealed as the country with the largest proportion of wealthy expats, Singapore has scored another victory.
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