From January 1, 2018, getting a Swiss passport will become tougher but rules for adopting a child will become slightly easier. Valued added tax (VAT) will fall slightly but the price of green energy is set to rise.
The arrival of the New Year brings with it several important legislative changes.
The right to Swiss nationality will be toughened. People on welfare and anyone with a criminal offence will in theory be excluded. A Swiss passport will henceforth be reserved for holders of a C residence permit who have been in Switzerland for five or ten years, depending on their country of origin, and who can attest to successful integration. They must still pass rigorous entry requirements, including a written language test.
To meet the demand for skilled labour, Switzerland will now be able to accommodate an additional 500 non-European nationals, or a total of 8,000.
2018 will also mark the return of short prison sentences and the possibility for the tax authorities to automatically exchange banking information with foreign partners.
Adopting a child will become slightly easier, even if the process remains long and complicated. Henceforth, applicants must be at least 28 years old instead of 35 and they must have been married for at least three years, rather than five. Both married couples and people living in registered partnerships will have the opportunity to adopt their partner's child.
From January 1, value added tax (VAT) will be reduced from 8% to 7.7%. There will be a special rate for hotels of 3.7%. In theory, this reduction will be passed on to consumers via lower prices. The electronic version of newspapers and books will benefit from VAT at 2.5%. Changes for VAT on online orders will be introduced in 2019.
The price of green energy will rise from 1.5 centimes per kilowatt hour to 2.3 centimes.
In 2018, more people will be eligible for disability benefits, including part-time employees and mothers. Families caring for seriously ill or severely disabled children at home will receive significantly more disability insurance money.