While the rate of migration decreased by 2.6 per cent in 2018 vis-a-vis the first six months of 2017, the number of permanent foreign residents increased by 1 per cent.
The total number of foreign citizens, permanent and non-permanent residents, reached 2,068,455, according to figures released on July 26th by the Swiss government.
With 407,453 foreign residents, the canton of Zurich hosts by far the largest foreign community. The cantons of Vaud, Geneva and Bern also host a large number of foreign residents.
Unsurprisingly, Switzerland's smallest canton by population – the German-speaking Appenzell Innerrhoden – hosts the smallest foreign community: 1.831 permanent and non-permanent foreign citizens reside in the northeastern mountainous region.
19,357 people migrated to Switzerland for family reasons between January and June 2018 – just over 20 per cent of whom have a Swiss family member – according to the data released.
The total number of EU or EEA citizens living in Switzerland in 2018 is 1,415,411, while the number of third country (non-EU/EEA) citizens was 653,044. Data from 2016 shows that Italians represented the largest foreign community in Switzerland, followed by German, Portuguese and French citizens respectively. More than half of the total number of foreign citizens in Switzerland in June 2017 were Italian, German, Portuguese or French citizens.
Just over 1.5 million foreign citizens in Switzerland are aged between 18 and 64 and more than half a million foreign residents have been in Switzerland for more than 20 years.
As of June 30th, 2018, 54,445 refugees lived in Switzerland.
Foreign residents must have lived in Switzerland for at least 10 years to apply for citizenship, must also show they abide by Swiss law and order, pose no threat to the country and be well integrated, a broad term that covers an applicant's participation in Swiss economic, social and linguistic life, according to new rules as of January 2018.
Foreign residents who have received social benefits in the last three years are barred from applying for citizenship.
READ MORE: How to apply for Swiss citizenship in 2018