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Local News Summary of May, 17th

  • "Welcome to Basel" and "Welcome on board" for newcomers
  • Mostly the well-off move to the countryside
  • Guest tax also for AirBnB tourists in Basel-Stadt

"Welcome to Basel" and "Welcome on board" for newcomers

The canton of Basel-Stadt on Tuesday officially welcomed newcomers to Basel with a traditional event at the town hall. Baschi Dürr, member of the government, greeted the guests as they arrived at 7pm. As part of the event, the newcomers were invited to take part in a boat tour on the Rhine at 8pm. The event was conducted in English.

The first part of the programme, entitled "Welcome to Basel", gave the new arrivals information about their new home and living environment. Specialists from the administration were on hand to provide information including about the registration process, work contract rights, social security, tax, and the school system. The event was rounded off by a report by Sarah Nevill, who moved to Switzerland from England more than 20 years ago. She told the audience about her migration experience as well as the life and traditions in Basel.

The second half of the programme "Welcome on board" offered newcomers information to help them settle into life in Basel more easily. Different information materials about schools, free-time activities, language courses, and cantonal or private points of contact for the migration community were provided so people can obtain more extensive information.

The newcomers could also approach the local administration representatives directly with any questions. Along with the local authority and specialists from GGG Migration, representatives from the local benevolent volunteer organisations and the national over-reaching migration network "ASK", as well as "BaselConnect" and "Centrepoint" were available. The representatives and agents from the 15 Basel local meeting points presented their offerings.

The "Welcome to Basel" event was available in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. The information market event "Welcome on Board" targeted the information needs and the need for new arrivals to have personal contact with other people who have just moved to Basel, as well as the internal administration and external points of contact. In addition to this welcome event, newcomers will later be welcomed into the area of Basel where they are living.

This will enable them to share knowledge and get to know the individual offers and structure of their local district. To widen the welcome to newcomers and help them to integrate, a voucher for free German lessons was given out to those who do not speak German. With these measures the canton of Basel-Stadt seeks to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for newcomers to help them settle in to life in Basel.


Every welcome event is combined with a city tour for newcomers which will be held on the Saturday following the event. Those who take part will receive their first overview of the daily challenges of life in Basel. Further information can be obtained through the website link.

As well as the welcome event, through the Government the canton and city development have also launched the "welcome to quarter" event. These will be coordinated regularly together with the local organisations in each city district. Further information can be obtained under the website link.

Mostly the well-off move to the countryside

Contrary to popular assumption, economically poorer households are not driven out of urban areas, according to a study.

As part of the study, requested by the Federal Office for housing (BWO), the University of Geneva addressed the question of whether living in city centres will soon be unaffordable to those on a low income. The results, published on Tuesday, do not fully confirm this assumption.

The subject of the study was the individual dwelling mobility of people with an income in the larger cities of Zurich, Basel, Bern, Lugano, Lausanne, and Geneva. According to the results, more well-off people seek a residential area which has a population that shows a similar social status.

The mobility of people with limited budget can clearly be distinguished between those with middle or high income: People on a low income move house significantly less frequently and when they do, it is mostly within in the same community, especially if they live in a city centre. If they moved out of the city centre they would settle in another poorer community in the wider area.

Guest tax also for AirBnB tourists in Basel-Stadt

Tourists who booked their rooms through an online platform such as AirBnB should also pay a guest tax in Basel-Stadt, according to the new guest tax law due to come into effect next year.

The purpose of the law is to create same conditions for hotels and so-called “parahotels”. It will mean that all people spending the night in Basel will pay a guest tax and not just the conventional hotels, the government wrote in a release issued on Tuesday.

No “Lex AirBnB“ – negotiations are ongoing

The law aims to ensure the canton can negotiate agreements with online booking portals in order to keep the administrative work low, especially for small competitors. The most well-known platform, AirBnB, has already been addressed by the cantonal office of economy and labour (AWA).

The goal is an agreement in which AirBnB commits itself to collect the guest tax from guests in Basel-Stadt and delivers it to the canton, the AWA said. However, the new law is not a “Lex AirBnB”, said Samuel Hess, manager of the economy department at AWA on request. There are plenty of other competitors.