• Switzerland's news in English

Cross-border workers soar in Lake Geneva area

Malcolm Curtis · 15 Nov 2013, 10:03

Published: 15 Nov 2013 10:03 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The total head count rose to 90,300 last year from 44,500 in 2002, when the freedom of movement accord between Switzerland and the European Union went into effect.

The figures were released by the Conseil du Léman, which groups together the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais with neighbouring regions in France.

Among the frontaliers, 98 percent live in France, while 72 percent work in Geneva, 25 percent in the canton of Vaud and three percent in Valais, the organization said in a news release.

The growth of frontaliers in the three Swiss cantons has averaged 7.3 percent a year, significantly higher than the 1.7 percent average annual increase in job creation for the Swiss region.

Cross-border workers accounted for 12 percent of employees in the combined area of Geneva, Vaud and Valais in 2012, up from seven percent a decade earlier.

It is widely accepted that one of the reasons for the increase in frontaliers is that Geneva has been creating jobs at a faster rate than it has been increasing the housing stock, forcing job seekers to live in neighbouring France.

Accommodation is more available, land for development is cheaper and living expenses are generally lower in the French Ain and Haute-Savoie regions than in Geneva or Vaud.

The difference in costs has been exacerbated by the high level of the Swiss franc against the euro.

Story continues below…

But the burgeoning numbers of frontaliers has sparked a backlash in Geneva, where the populist Geneva Citizens Movement party has gained support.

The MCG, which on Sunday elected a candidate to the Geneva cantonal government (Mauro Poggia) for the first time in its eight-year history, has campaigned on a "Genevans-first" platform, arguing that frontaliers benefit at the expense of the canton's residents.  

See also: Populist party makes Geneva election breakthrough

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
'Protect Swiss waterways or lose our fish': WWF
Photo: Richi Stadelmann/WWF

Eighty-five percent of fish species in Switzerland are under threat, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

SBB pilots new annual pass – costing 12,200 francs
The 'door-to-door' pass includes use of an electric car. Photo: SBB

Swiss federal railways (SBB) is looking for 100 people willing to pilot a new annual transport pass that includes use of an electric car.

Immigration to Switzerland falls as emigration rises
File photo: The Local

Immigration in Switzerland has fallen considerably this year, according to official figures.

Wawrinka aces his way into Basel quarterfinals
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The home favourite returns to the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors for the first time in five years.

Illegal immigrant dies after setting himself on fire
The victim was treated at University Hospital Zurich. Photo: University Hospital Zurich

The 45-year-old Tunisian was threatened with deportation.

Swiss government rejects call for second immigration vote
Photo: Justus Blumer/Christophe G

The Swiss government has rejected a popular initiative calling for a revote on plans to limit immigration.

Bern: companies should report salary inequality by law
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The Swiss government wants to force small companies to examine their rates of pay every four years.

Husband in custody after Orbe body identified
File photo: Bas Leenders

The deceased is a 55-year-old woman who lived in the house with her husband.

Presented by MoneyPark
How to get a mortgage in Switzerland
Houses in Zürich. Photo: Pixabay.

Ready to buy? Here’s what you need to know as an expat about Swiss regulations, how to finance your purchase, and why you should use a broker.

Autumn in Switzerland: ten stunning Instagram photos
Photo: Swiss Tourism/Jan Geerk

Switzerland is beautiful in all seasons, but as these photos show, autumn is a special time in the alpine country.

Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben
Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: The Local
Ticino firefighters rescue cow from swimming pool
Photo: Antoni Da Campo
Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
Photo: Randy Kashka
Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Seven things you’ll miss about Switzerland if you leave
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
jobs available