Here we go. On Sunday, a slight majority in Switzerland has decided to put an end to the apparently uncontrollable immigration the country suffers from. An end to the fact that foreigners are occupying the seats in the trains and the fact that the rents in Swiss cities have exploded due to foreigners. As if it has been so ridiculously easy until now to get a residence permit in Switzerland…
Since the National Party in Switzerland doesn’t know we are Germans, we were lucky to receive their regular newspaper in which they explained why there should be stricter rules for foreigners to apply for residency (and yes, we thought about putting a sign on the letterbox saying “please no SVP papers, we are Germans” but thought it might backfire and they might try to drown us in pamphlets). I am starting to feel slightly frustrated about the immigration issue in Switzerland.
To explain: In order to live in Switzerland, you need a residence permit. Karsten only got a 5-year residence permit because he is doing his PhD in Switzerland – because you can’t just go there and apply for it, you have to have a job first. I don’t have a job and the only reason why I was allowed to receive a residence permit was because Karsten and I are married. If we wouldn’t be married, the little one and I wouldn’t be allowed to live there. And since I haven’t had a job in Switzerland, I am not entitled to any kind of social benefits – so as a stay-at-home mum, all I do is contributing to the Swiss economy by consuming Swiss products, paying into the Swiss health insurance and, oh dear god, yes, attracting people who might come and visit us and consume even more Swiss products. Even the little one is contributing to the Swiss economy. Because yes, we receive a child allowance, but given that the little one is not a real Swiss baby but a baby with German parents, she has to pay the foreigner tax which is deducted from the child allowance. It’s not much, so nothing worth being annoyed of, but just for fun how about naming it differently in order to create the impression that babies are equal, no matter what nationality they have.
And of course we use the Swiss transportation system. It’s one of the best I have ever seen. And it leads you to great places and locations. Guilty as charged. But so far, no one ever gave up his seat in the designated stroller/wheelchair area voluntarily when I entered the train with the little one. If I am already part of the problem, I want at least have a seat!
Why I still like to live in Switzerland? Among others, because we have absolutely wonderful friends, colleagues and neighbhours who like us despite our weird accent. And in the end, that’s what counts!
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