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Dire straits Should governments provide aid for expats?

In today’s globalised world, educational and professional opportunities, as well as increased ease of international communications, are tempting more and more people to try their luck living abroad.

In Switzerland’s case, some 30,000 Swiss leave their homeland every year - the vast majority of whom return under their own steam, in their own time. And for the others, some of whom fall on hard times in their adopted countries, the Swiss government is obliged by law to provide them with financial welfare and repatriation assistance if they meet certain criteria.

Do you think this is necessary? Should it be the role of the state to come to the financial aid of people who have voluntarily left Switzerland to live permanently in another?

Place of abode

Under Swiss law, nobody can have more than one domicile simultaneously. Swiss law defines domicile as the place where a person resides with the intention of settling.

The intention to settle has to be based on circumstances recognisable to third parties (for example, the presence of family members or a position of employment).

To ­determine a person’s domicile, all their life circumstances are taken into account – the centre of their existence being in the place or country where most aspects of their ­personal, social and professional life are found.

The strength of the links with this centre will prevail over links with other places or countries.

This means that only the place with which a person has the strongest links can constitute a domicile.

(Source: Organisation of the Swiss Abroad)

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