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Growth of foreign cross-border workers slows

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Growth of foreign cross-border workers slows
Thousands of foreign workers cross the border into Switzerland every day. Photo: The Local
12:10 CET+01:00
The number of foreigners working in Switzerland but living in neighbouring European countries continued to grow in 2014 but at a slower rate than in previous years, government figures released on Monday show.

By the end of the year the number of such workers, known as “frontaliers”, rose 3.1 percent to 287,100, an increase of 8,600 from 2013, the federal statistics office said in a report.

A little more than half the frontaliers (52.4 percent) were living in France, while almost a quarter (23.7 percent) had homes in Italy and just over a fifth (20.4 percent) lived in Germany, the report said.

The share of frontiers among those actively employed was highest in the canton of Ticino (26.2 percent), which borders Italy.

The figures do not include Swiss citizens living in neighbouring European countries, such as France, Italy, Germany and Austria.

The relatively low cost of living in eurozone countries has encouraged rising numbers of cross-border workers with jobs in Switzerland to live outside the country.

The strong franc has made this proposition even more attractive, while the difficulty of finding affordable accommodation in cantons such as Geneva has also made living in nearby France more appealing.

However, frontaliers are also facing resentment from Swiss nationalists, who are backing hiring policies that favour employment of workers who live in Switzerland.

Over the past five years, the number of foreigners working in Switzerland but living in EU countries has risen 29.6 percent.

But the increase has been higher for certain professions, including administrative positions (up 72.6 percent) and “directors, management executives and managers” (up 37.3 percent).   

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