Our aims

A powerful 'lobby' and a modern service centre

The OSA has three main objectives :

  • To efficiently represent the general interests of Swiss citizens living abroad before the Swiss authorities and with the public at home.
  • To promote good relations between Swiss living abroad and strengthen their ties with Switzerland.
  • To provide a wide, up-to-date range of specialised services.

 

The OSA is strongly committed to improving the legal status of Swiss citizens living abroad. Its most significant achievements have been firmly rooting the Fifth Switzerland in the Federal Constitution in 1966 (article 40 of the new Constitution) and the introduction of the right to vote by mail in federal matters in 1992. It has successfully opposed the dismantling of optional old-age and disablement insurance (AVS/AI) on several occasions. More recently it has been instrumental in improving civil rights legislation in the field of health insurance as well as in promoting training for young Swiss abroad.

 

The increasing impact of information

One of the OSA's major concerns is to provide a first-class information service to Swiss expatriates. This became even more vital with the introduction of the right to vote by mail. The "Swiss Review" magazine, published by the OSA together with the Confederation, is sent to all Swiss adults registered at a Swiss mission abroad. Published in five languages (German, French, Italian, English and Spanish) with a circulation of 422,000 copies, it is one of Switzerland's largest journals.

 

Four to six times a year Swiss associations and institutions abroad receive the "ASO Info" newsletter. The Organisation also works with swissinfo and is building up its site on the Internet.

 

A broad range of services

With its staff of 24, the Secretariat for the Swiss Abroad in Bern, the OSA's administration team, is a modern service centre with a wide variety of specialised services available to all Swiss expatriates. Information, details and advice on legal questions, social security insurance and training matters as well as holiday camps, sports activities and numerous other offers for young Swiss abroad and particulars about the 17 federally approved Swiss schools abroad.

 

Every year several hundred Swiss living all over the world meet at the OSA's Swiss Abroad Congresses. As well as giving members the opportunity to share their views on topical subjects, these conferences also strengthen bonds between expatriates and facilitate contacts with the Swiss authorities and the public back home.

 

100 years of the OSA in 2016 and 6 future focus areas for development 

Under the title “Switzerland in the world”, the OSA's anniversary year in 2016 set out to look back on 100 years of history of Swiss emigration and the OSA. However, this reflection on the past primarily sought to look to the future. The international migration of our fellow citizens continues to increase and to take new forms. What will be the specific requirements of future emigrants? Questions are consequently also raised about the OSA's role and services it will make available. To provide answers, a questionnaire was sent to the delegates of the CSA. The results were made public at the CSA meeting on 5 August in Berne. On this basis, six development priorities were defined and adopted by the Council's members on 5 August 2016.

They constitute the OSA's future development priorities or a roadmap for the OSA over the coming years.

These goals, some of which are already in progress, are certainly ambitious. However, it is vital that they are achieved in order for the OSA to meet the challenges of future migration through its services and the specific requirements involved. This is crucial if it is to continue to carry out its mission in an optimal way which involves representing and protecting the interests of the Swiss abroad.

 

The questionnaire about the future of the OSA exists only in German and French.

Umfrage Zukunft ASO_ASR August 2017

Questionnaire OSE_CSE Août 2017