Canton of Zug, 06.12.2019

What the City and Canton of Zug do for their expats

The recently published Expat City Ranking, based on a study of over 20,000 respondents in 82 cities worldwide, gives Zug high marks: The city of 30,500 inhabitants ranks 8th - between Barcelona and The Hague (see report on December 5). According to the ranking, Zug is considered one of the most suitable cities for moving abroad in the year 2020 and performs best among the seven listed Swiss cities (Basel, Lausanne, Bern, Zurich, Lugano and Geneva). Among other things, Zug receives top marks in the areas of quality of life and local economic situation.

Reducing this good ranking to the moderate tax burden, the pleasant residential area and the transport infrastructure does not go far enough, however. Both the City and Canton of Zug have been investing in the integration of expats for years. For example, the canton designed an expat guide 15 years ago, which is constantly being updated. The 130-page brochure is a bestseller, and is even in demand by people outside the canton, says Bernhard Neidhart, head of the Office for Economic Affairs and Labour. "The aim was and is to inform newcomers from abroad about everyday things, and to thereby simplify their access to our society and our customs," says Neidhart.

The information platform "The Zug Post" was founded for the same reason ten years ago. The articles from the "Zuger Zeitung" that are most interesting for immigrants are published daily in English in "The Zug Post" on the online expat platform "Zug4You" "It’s important that people who are moving into the area are well informed about the local circumstances and everyday life right from the start," says Economics Director Silvia Thalmann-Gut. This was the basis for a welcoming culture, which in turn could be the starting point for a successful integration.

Sunset from the Ägeristrasse with a view of the city Zug. But it’s not only the high quality of life in Zug that’s appreciated by expats.

A good integration serves everyone: people who are moving in and those who are already resident.

This attitude is not new: together with the municipalities and local employers, the Canton of Zug founded the current Association for the Advisory Organisation for the Foreign Employees of Canton Zug (VBA) in the 1960s, which offers its services under the name Fachstelle Migration Zug (FMZ). The aim of this association is to enable foreign immigrants to visit authorities, offices and schools as quickly and independently as possible, explains Silvia Thalmann. The association has always acted as an umbrella organization for foreigner associations.

Following the adaptation of the federal Aliens and Integration Act (Ausländer- und Integrationsgesetz) the cantons have a duty to provide information. From then on, all immigrants resident in the Canton of Zug have been welcomed by letter. At the same time, they have received information about the region, which is available in around ten languages. There is also a wide range of activities and brochures, which are also offered by the municipalities. In the city of Zug, there is the 60-page booklet "Discovering Zug: Habitat, Economic Area, Cultural Space, Open Space" with useful addresses for newcomers, which is also handed out at the Resident's Registration Office (Einwohnerkontrolle). “The Resident's Registration Office of the City of Zug even received an award two years ago. In a check carried out by the Swiss Contact Management Magazine, Zug achieved the best result, along with Herisau, for the service quality and customer orientation of all the residents' registration office of the 26 cantonal capitals,” says the Communications Director for the City of Zug, Dieter Müller.

Newcomers to the city of Zug are also invited to the newcomers’ aperitif (Neuzuzüger-Apéro) twice a year. According to Müller, 800 to 900 people are registered, of whom 180 to 200 attend. The concept, with market stalls on topics such as coexistence, leisure, culture, neighbourhoods / neighbourhood clubs, history/customs or the fire service, are still well appreciated.