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Everything that changes in October 2019 in Switzerland

From winding back the clocks to preparing for (a possible) Brexit, plenty of changes are set to take place in Switzerland in October.

Everything that changes in October 2019 in Switzerland
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Here’s a list of some of the most significant changes that will be taking place across Switzerland in October.

While it's only early October, from swapping out your summer jacket for a winter one to sampling seasonal cuisine, our readers will have already noticed plenty of changes as autumn swings into gear.  

READ: Five things to do in autumn in Switzerland

There are however a range of specific changes which are set to take place this month – along with a few others that are up in the air at this stage. 

The government (potentially)

The Swiss will go to the polls on October 20th, 2019, electing all members of both the upper and the lower house of the Federal Assembly. 

Although the elections are organised individually by the cantons, all but one will take place on the third Sunday in October, with the exception being Appenzell Innerrhoden which held its elections back in April. 

Here’s our detailed rundown of the major parties ahead of the Swiss election. 

READ: The Local readers’ view on Swiss Elections: 'I pay taxes but have no say'

Winding back the clocks

The coming of winter means daylight savings time is coming to an end. On Sunday, October 27th, the clocks will be wound back from 3am to 2am – giving all of us an all-important extra hour of sleep. 






L’horloge fleurie a vu le jour en 1955 grâce au soutien financier de l’Union des fabricants d’horlogerie de Genève et de Vaud. Cette image prise l’année de sa création nous la montre dans sa version originale aux couleurs genevoises. 5000 plantes composent le parterre! Photographe anonyme travaillant pour les éditions Jaeger, Genève, promenade du Lac: l’horloge fleurie, 1955, Bibliothèque de Genève, CIG Crédit: Ville de Genève . . #photographiegeneve #collection #Geneve #geneva #horlogefleurie #flowerclock #horlogerie #watchmaking #igersgeneva #photooftheday #picoftheday #photography #followme #like4like #likeforlike #instalike

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Geneva's famous flower clock will be wound back – potentially for the second-last time ever – in October. 

While the debate surrounding ending daylight savings time has ramped up in recent years across the EU, suggested changes are not set to come in until 2021, meaning this October is likely to be the second-last time that Swiss residents will wind their clocks back.

READ: Switzerland bides time on daylight savings decision

Brexit game

On October 31st 2019, the United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union. This deadline was set pursuant to the second extension the UK government has received, with the first set for March 29th 2019 and the second set at 30th June 2019. 

While current British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated that the October 31st deadline will not be extended under any circumstances, debate surrounding the nature of the UK’s withdrawal deal is continuing. 

Read: Brexit Q&A: Embassy answers questions from anxious Brits in Switzerland 

Another important October date is the 19th, with the current law requiring the UK to seek another extension to the deadline if an agreement is not reached by this date. The suggested extension deadline should this October 19th deadline be met is January 31st, 2020. 

While Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, there are potentially a range of consequences for British nationals as a result of the UK’s withdrawal. Our full Brexit coverage can be found here



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Switzerland extends professional services deal with the UK

Switzerland and the UK have extended a deal that allows professionals special access to each other's markets until the end of 2025.

Switzerland extends professional services deal with the UK

Under the deal, Swiss and British service providers are given easier access to each others’ markets. 

“The Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) maintains ease of access for service providers following the end of the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the UK with the latter’s withdrawal from the EU,” said a statement from the economic department at the Swiss Federal Council.

The deal “regulates market access and temporary stay for service providers such as business consultants, IT experts and engineers”, said the Council, adding that it “meets a need” in the Swiss economy. 

The temporary agreement, which came into force on January 1st 2021, is to be extended until the end of 2025. 

Under the deal, Switzerland grants UK professionals seeking to provide a service in Switzerland access for a maximum period of 90 days per calendar year.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED – What is Switzerland’s deal with the EU?

According to the Swiss Federal Council, more than 4,000 British suppliers have used the 90-day market access option to provide services in the Swiss market since 2021.

The deal also gives Swiss exporters “preferential access” to the UK market in over 30 service sectors, according to the Swiss Federal Council. 

In many sectors, service providers no longer need to prove they hold a university degree or have experience in order to be admitted to the UK market.

Meanwhile, some Swiss higher vocational education and training qualifications are now recognised by the UK as equivalent to a university degree. The UK has also simplified some of the procedures for obtaining a business visa.

According to the British government, Switzerland is the UK’s “sixth largest export market for services, worth over £12 billion in exports last year”.

In a statement the UK government said the deal provided certainty for firms in both countries. 

“Moving skilled people between countries is vital to services exports, facilitating the delivery of projects and face to face conversations that help to win new clients and get deals done,” said the UK government in a statement.