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Language requirement

Tax haven makes residency easier for the rich

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The canton of Zug is planning to make it a lot easier for wealthy foreigners to settle in the area. It will mean one rule for the rich and one for the poor. (SRF/

Foreigners applying for “C” residence permits in a German-speaking canton normally have to prove they can speak the local language quite well. But in canton Zug, this will not apply to people of “considerable fiscal interest”, in other words millionaires.

The Zug government has wide political support for making exceptions, as it fears that the language requirements will scare off rich applicants. But opponents of opting out say the rich are generally highly educated and could easily manage German courses, which would help them to integrate.  The Alternative Green Party is threatening a referendum if the plans go ahead.  

But the central Swiss region, known as a tax haven, is not the only canton to favour the rich. Ticino, Nidwalden, Lucerne and Schwyz also reserve the right to make exceptions in certain cases, when it’s “in the public interest”.