Immigration continues to boost Swiss population

Immigration continues to boost Swiss population
Foreign immigration continues to zoom: crowd watches Swiss air force jet in Bernese Oberland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/File
Immigration is largely responsible for an increase in Switzerland’s population to 8.14 million at the end of 2013, up just over 100,000 from the previous year, according to latest government figures.

The country’s permanent population rose by 100,600 from the end of 2012, the federal statistics office (FSO) said in a report issued on Monday.

The number of people moving to Switzerland jumped 10.5 percent to 193,300, including 167,200 foreigners (up 10.8 percent) and 26,100 Swiss citizens (up 8,5 percent), the report said.

Three quarters of the non-Swiss immigrants were Europeans, it said.

Germans (24,600), accounted for the largest single group of foreign immigrants, followed by Portuguese (20,000), Italians (17,700, French (13,600 and Spanish (9,100).

British immigrants accounted for 4,922 new residents to the country last year, while Americans accounted for 3,810 and Canadians 1,155, according to FSO data.

Emigration from Switzerland rose 2.2 percent to 106,200, although the number of Swiss leaving their home country dipped by 5.1 percent, while the number of foreigners leaving rose by 5.2 percent.

The net number of foreigners moving to the country rose by 89,500, while the net total of Swiss dropped by 2,400, the FSO said.

The latest immigration figures show the number of foreigners nearing two million (1.94 million) or 23.8 percent of the population.

Further such growth is expected to slow this year after Swiss voters in February backed an initiative to cap immigration from the European Union.

Switzerland already has restrictions on immigration from countries outside the EU.

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