The Host State Act and the ordinances on its application enable the Federal Council to pursue a host state policy that is more transparent, predictable and attuned to Switzerland’s interests. At the same time, they provide the institutional beneficiaries established in Switzerland with a clear legal framework regarding their privileges, immunities, and facilities.
The act defines the possible beneficiaries of privileges, immunities, exemptions and financial contributions within the framework of international law. It also sets out the conditions on which the beneficiaries can be granted special status and financial subsidies. The privileges and immunities arise from international customary law and have been taken over in numerous agreements. The act's provisions on financial subsidies are designed to enable the Federal Council to continue what has already been its practice for many years.
The Host State Ordinance (HSO) determines the extent of privileges, immunities and facilities that can be granted to the different kinds of institutional beneficiary as well as the conditions for entry into Swiss territory, residence and working for beneficiaries, procedures for the acquisition of real estate by institutional beneficiaries, and procedures for the granting of financial subsidies and other support measures. The HSO codifies long standing Swiss practice, in accordance with international law, in the framework of the implementation of host state policy.
Private Household Employees Ordinance (PHEO)
This ordinance regulates conditions for entry to Switzerland, admission, residence and work for private household staff employed by the individual beneficiaries of privileges and immunities. It ensures greater transparency and its detailed regulations spell out the rules that apply in each case, e.g. in relation to work contracts, wages, insurance, medical expenses, etc. In these areas it replaces the standard contracts of the cantons.
Switzerland’s role as a host state is recognised throughout the world, principally thanks to the international city of Geneva. To strengthen this position and enable the Federal Council to pursue a host state policy that is more transparent, predictable and attuned to Switzerland’s interests, the Federal Assembly approved the Host State Act (HSA) on 22 June 2007. Subsequently on 7 December 2007 the Federal Council approved the Host State Ordinance (HSO) with provisions for implementation of the act. The act and the ordinance both came into force on 1 January 2008. The PHEO was approved on 6 June 2011 and came into force on 1 July 2011.