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How to get deported

April 20, 2011

Doesnt it just warm the cockles of your heart?

The little tizz I had yesterday about the banning of minarets got me thinking about all the other things that are illegal in Switzerland. This is not as wasteful a task as it might sound, seeing as last year the Swiss passed a law which stipulates that foreigners who are convicted of a serious crime – the definition of which eludes me but which, according to the New York Times, in Switzerland includes a broad scope of offences from rape, to over-claiming on your unemployment benefits – will now be automatically deported upon completion of their prison sentence.

This legislation is only the latest in a spate of efforts to minimise the amount of foreigners in Switzerland, which currently comprise around 23% of the country’s 7.7 million inhabitants.

Despite the fact that without foreign workers, Switzerland would be unable to maintain the high levels of economic activity which make it such a prosperous, cheese-riddled country, there is a whole bunch of foreigner-hating going on here, led primarily by the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the artists of the infamous sheep posters.

The SVP relies on statistics which show that 70% of all prisoners in Switzerland are foreigners to justify their xenephobia. However, they fail to put this statistic in the context of Swiss laws which require, among other things, residency in the country for twelve years before allowing foreigners to become Swiss citizens. These statistics also must be read in the light of legal practices which generally perceive foreigners as presenting a greater flight risk and therefore necessitating incarceration with a greater frequency than citizens, and the discriminatory nature of most criminal justice systems, which are far more likely to convict “the other”.

Anyway, in light of all of is, I think is somewhat important that we expats in Geneva educate ourselves about things that are and are not illegal in this country and may or may not get us deported. Here are my top tips for no-goes in Switzerland, unless of course you’re looking for a free flight home…

Don’t be flushing your live goldfish down the toilet. Swiss law stipulates that you must murder the fish before sending it to a watery grave.

It is illegal to do a bunch of things on a Sunday in Switzerland, which goes a long way towards explaining why it’s so bloody quiet here on the weekend. Among the illicit behaviour is those public-endangering, risky tasks such as washing your car, mowing your law, and hanging your washing out to dry.

After 10pm at night is another danger zone, when apparently you can be fined for flushing the toilet or, if you’re a man, urinating standing up.

Whatever you do, do NOT ski down a mountain while reciting poetry. Seriously, that’s just reckless.

On the bright side, and bizarrely, you can do the following with no fear of being hassled by the authorities:

–          Get around with your kit off

–          Discriminate against employment candidates on the basis of gender, age or nationality

–          Be or seek the services of a sex worker

–          Euthanase someone or be euthanased

–          Smoke pot

–          Light a campfire in public

Well! Despite my fears of deportation, all of a sudden Geneva is sounding a lot more exciting! Naked campfire euthanasia parties, here I come!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pattymac permalink
    July 31, 2011 3:31 pm

    HA!! sounds like a truly interesting place!

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