Significant number of Croats started to immigrate to Switzerland in the mid-sixties of the 20th century but most Croats came to Switzerland in the late seventies and early eighties.
First immigrants were namely technical experts, doctors and other high educated intelligence. Croatian community is unevenly spread across Switzerland, largest community lives in Zurich, Argau, St Gallen, Bern, Ticino, Luzern, Solothurn, Basel, Schaffhausen and Wallis.
According to official data there are around 36.125 Croatian citizens living in Switzerland, but if we consider Croats with dual citizenship, it may be estimated that around 70.000 Croats live in Swiss Confederation.
Status of Croats in Switzerland
One of the priorities of the Swiss Government is integration of the foreign immigrants. New Act on foreigners, enacted in January 2008, set certain changes:
1. Three Visa practice (A,B,C, visa) is abolished. By this, according to bilateral contracts between SC and EU. EU citizens gain freedoms of movement, citizens of other countries, after five years of living in SC, lose their C visa.
2. One of Visa condition is the so called Economy clausal, which means that one need to have satisfactory finance situation, otherwise, his or her visa application may be denied.
3. Children age limit for granting automatic Visa based on parents status is moved from 18 to 12 years.
Croatian associations and Catholic missions
There are numerous associations in SC, one of the distinguished is AMAC-CH, then Chorus Croaticus, Fond hrvatskih studenata (FOHS), Hrvatska kulturna zajednica (HKZ), Hrvatska unija mladih, Hrvatski humanitarni forum (HHF), Hrvatski svjetski kongres, Hrvatsko inženjersko društvo (HID), Matica hrvatska, Švicarsko-hrvatsko društvo „Vladimir Prelog“ i Hrvatski kulturni klub u Badenu. There are 14 Catholic missions in Aarau, Baar, Basel, Bern, Carmorin, Clarens, Frauenfeld, Graubünden, Luzern, Lausanne, Solothurn, St.Galleu and Trimmis.
Croatian classes and Lectorate for Croatian language
Croatian schools have been organized in SC since 1990. Since 1993, schools and teachers are under authority of Croatian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
Independent lectorates are:
Slavisches Seminar der Universität Bern, Slavisches Seminar der Universität Basel and Slavisches Seminar der Universität Zürich.
Publishing and Media:
It is important to mention several magazines and papers:
- „Društvene obavijesti“, „Libra“, „Movis“, and „Querqus“
On www.croatia.ch you can get information on life and work of Croats in SC. Radio broadcasting for Croats is available on Radio Bern RABE, Radio Baden and LoRA Zürich