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Everything that changes in Switzerland in January 2022

Many changes are set to happen in Switzerland in January. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya from Pexels
Many changes are set to happen in Switzerland in January. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya from Pexels
New Year, new changes. These are some of the developments and events you can expect in Switzerland in the first month of 2022.

No discrimination by online stores abroad

Good news for people who like to purchase goods on the Internet: from January 1st, Swiss customers will no longer be denied access to foreign online shopping platforms.

Currently, anyone in Switzerland who tries to access the “.de” or “.fr” version of a merchant site, is automatically redirected to a Swiss sales portal where the merchandise is more expensive. But from January 1st, the law will ban geo-blocking on the internet in this area, a rule in force in the EU since 2018.

Ordering from foreign sites will become easier. ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP

The disability insurance reform will enter into force on January 1st

Under the new system, disability pensions will be allocated on a linear basis for beneficiaries with a disability rate between 40 and 69 percent. The aim is to encourage recipients of a disability pension to work as much as is possible.

The reform also aims to improve the chances of young people and people with mental health problems, with a view to reintegrating into the labour market.

More detail, along with more information about areas to be reformed can be found in German and French.

Croatians can work in Switzerland under same right as other EU/EFTA nationals

From January 1st, citizens of Croatia will be permitted to work in Switzerland under the same rights as the rest of the EU/EFTA nationals.

Previously, under a law approved by the Swiss authorities, Croatians were permitted access to Switzerland’s labour market while being subject to transitional provisions, such as specific quotas.

READ MORE: Swiss to allow ‘complete’ free movement of people from Croatia

Gender identity to be easier to adjust in official documents

An amendment to the Civil Code which will come into force on January 1st will allow people with a trans identity to make appropriate changes in the civil status register more easily, by means of a simple declaration.

New rules for social security numbers

From January 1st, cantonal or municipal authorities will be authorised to use your AHV /AVS number systematically to accomplish their legal tasks. Personal information such as last name, first name or marital status can be updated automatically and accurately, which will reduce administrative work and the risk of errors. The aim is to avoid confusion when handling personal files, while contributing to the implementation of the Swiss e-government strategy.

No more green class subscriptions on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)

SBB is getting rid of its “Green Class” offer which combined the public transport subscription with an electric car.

From January 1st, vehicle management will be handled by Carvolution, while SBB will remains a partner as a supplier of the “public transport” part of this subscription.

Responsible businesses

New measures to better protect people and the environment will come into force on January 1st. It is a direct counter-proposal of the popular initiative “Responsible companies” rejected in November 2020.

Large Swiss companies will  have to account for the risks generated by their activity. Those whose business poses risk will be required to report and do extensive due diligence in the areas of child labour, as well as minerals and metals from conflict-affected or high-risk areas.

READ MORE: UPDATED: World’s strictest corporate responsibility plan fails in Swiss vote

Internal migration: from Bern to Fribourg

As of January 1st, the Bernese region of Clavaleyres will join neighbouring Fribourg. 

The region has around 50 inhabitants and according to Switzerland’s Der Bund “is finding it increasingly difficult to carry out the tasks of a community from fire services to social services to school lessons.”

While some cantonal changes can be controversial – Moutier, anyone? – this time around the change as largely flown under the radar. 

READ MORE: Bern notice: Moutier wants to change cantons – but why?

We all need to be nicer to fish and lobsters

From January 1st, Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) will introduce new rules on how fish and crustaceans can be slaughtered. 

At present, there are no regulations for how this needs to take place, meaning companies can slaughter fish and other sea creatures in any way they like. 

Now there will be a range of minimum standards which need to be complied with. 

…and chickens

There will also be an expansion of animal welfare laws regarding the commercial slaughter of poultry, i.e. chickens and turkeys. 

The gasses used to stun the birds must be kinder and gentler in the future, with CO2 – the gas currently used – to be phased out. 

Only humane methods can be used to kill the chickens. Photo by Zachariah Smith on Unsplash

Covid rules and Covid certificate to end — maybe

Switzerland’s Covid measures and Covid certificate are officially set to expire on January 24th. 

These are the measures currently in effect until January 24th:

Switzerland flags new measures, expansion of Covid certificate

2G: Switzerland targets unvaccinated with new Covid measures

EXPLAINED: What is Switzerland’s 2G-Plus rule?

EXPLAINED: What will Switzerland’s working from home obligation look like?

If this is the case, we can expect a return to the grand old days of 2019, where wearing a mask was weird and kiss hellos were not. 

In reality, and particularly given the concerning Covid situation across Switzerland, it is likely that the measures are extended beyond January and well into the new year. 

We have no inside scoop from the Swiss government, but using 2021 as an example, there’s a good chance that the measures will be relaxed in the spring when the weather warms up. 

Here you can see what changes are set to take place in Switzerland throughout 2022:

Everything that changes in Switzerland in 2022


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