New law on Swiss abroad advances

logitech_mouse2008BERN, SWITZERLAND – A key parliamentary commission has approved the final version of a new law that would oblige Swiss citizens living abroad to declare that they are living outside the country (currently: voluntary) in order to benefit from government services.

The new law wold also clarify the responsibilities and limits of the work of Swiss consulates with Swiss citizens and organizations, notably for if they are kidnapped or are victims of other crimes.

Groups such as the Swiss Abroad organization and various government departments were consulted as the new law was drawn up to plug an important gap: consulates operate under the guidance of the Swiss Federal Council without any legal base that lays out precisely what their role is.

The new law is also designed to bring together under one law a variety of rules overseen by several federal departments, which affect Swiss living abroad.

The upper house commission is now sending it to the house for approval; both houses will need to pass it before it becomes law.