Commuter or resident? Which option is right for me?

If you currently live in Germany or France, but were offered a good job in Switzerland, the question arises whether it is more sensible for you to move to Switzerland as a resident, i.e. moving your residence to Switzerland, or to remain living in Germany or France and to work in Switzerland as a commuter. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

Should I dare to immigrate to Switzerland or not?

Before making this important decision about whether to entirely move your residence from Germany or France to Switzerland, there are a certain number of pros and cons that one should consider. However, there is no reasonable obstacle for not accepting a job in Switzerland. If you live in Germany or France close to the border with Switzerland and you have the opportunity to accept a job in the vicinity on the Swiss side of the border, there is no reason why you shouldn’t become a commuter. Because in Switzerland the wages are higher, the income and the salaries are overall safer and your pension will therefore also be higher. Would you decide to immigrate entirely to Switzerland you can also expect a higher standard of living, better quality products and superior services. On the other hand, a life as a commuter also has a certain number of advantages. Germany or France have higher child benefits and more nursery places are made available. Therefore, before making the decision whether or not to live in Germany or France and work in Switzerland as a commuter, you should calculate the tax savings, estimate the wage and extra costs that you would have to bear because of having to travel longer to work, despite the salary in Switzerland being higher. Comparing the health insurance costs is also a way to obtain tangible results. 

Comparing the costs before starting a new life

If you’re considering starting to work in Switzerland, but you don’t want to entirely move as a resident to the country, then you should calculate in advance all extra costs that are to be expected. When immigrating to Switzerland you have the particular advantage of tax saving, but if you own a property in the border area and your kids are enrolled in a German/French school or kindergarten, it is not an easy decision to move the center of your life entirely to Switzerland. In certain circumstances it is definitely worth doing so, for example if your work is in Bern and you have a long drive to get there. In this case, a higher salary and extra tax savings are not advantageous if you have to pay high transport costs and put up with very long journeys to work. Therefore, in such a case you are better off working as a resident in Switzerland. You should also compare the different health insurance providers in Switzerland.

One can come to the following conclusion: If you have family, you should settle down in the border regions in Germany or France. Mainly because the rents are more favorable and German child benefits are more advantageous, but at the same time you will benefit from the higher Swiss salary. Comparing the different health insurance providers is also definitely a must. The extra expenditures should also be taken into account and estimated, because the further you have to drive to work the more beneficial it would be to immigrate to Switzerland.


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