Residents of a Swiss village voted to offer a settlement grant to people willing to move there.
The vote on 30 November was passed by 71 votes in favour to 29 against, reports ATS.
“It’s a clear result and I’m very happy about it,” said mayor Beat Jost.
It means that, for those who are eligible, moving to the village of Albinen in the Valais region will mean a payout of CHF25,000 (£15,000) per adult and CHF10,000 (£7,500) per child.
The village currently has 240 inhabitants; the new scheme was proposed in response to a group of young residents’ request that something be done to bolster Albinen’s decreasing population.
A dedicated fund of CHF100,000 (£75,000) per year will be allotted to the project.
But getting the settlement grant isn’t as straightforward as packing your bags and showing up in Switzerland. To be eligible, new residents must be under 45 years old, sign up to live in Albinen for a minimum of 10 years, buy or build a property there with a minimum value of CHF200,000 (£150,000), and be a Swiss citizen or have a valid Swiss C permit. Their house there must be a primary residence, rather than a second home.
The local newsletter called the move “an investment in the village’s future”.
However, Albinen authorities are keen to stress that the scheme is not aimed at everyone after some media coverage suggested that anyone would be eligible, reports the Local.
A statement released by authorities said that the news “caused a worldwide sensation” and was responsible for “misleading thousands”.
Of the many expressions of interest Albinen has received since the story initially broke, “one in a hundred” could realistically be considered due to the strict stipulations, the statement said.
Authorities say they expect that “at most five to 10 young families” will end up taking part in the scheme.
It’s not the first place to entice new residents with a cash bonus. In October The Independent reported that an Italian town was offering to pay people up to €2,000 (£1,800) to move there.
Nicola Gatta, mayor of Candela, a small town in Puglia, made the offer in the hope of reversing the town’s declining population.
Gatta said he wants to bring numbers back up to the 8,000 of the 1990s, when the town was known as “Little Naples”. Today, there are just 2,700 residents.