Switzerland sees rise in number of cross-border workers

Author thumbnail
The Local - [email protected]
Switzerland sees rise in number of cross-border workers
An increasing number of foreign workers commute to their Swiss jobs. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The number of foreign workers commuting into Switzerland has grown across all the regions.


New data released the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) this Thursday shows that the number of frontier workers employed in Switzerland has gone up by nearly 5 percent at the end of last year when compared to the same period in 2018.

That figure comprises nearly 329,000 people who come from Italy, France and Germany to work in Switzerland every day. Just over half of all cross-border commuters live in France (54.8 percent); the rest commute from Italy (23.4 percent) and Germany (18.4 percent).

According to FSO, the majority of frontier workers (220,266) are employed in the tertiary sector, which includes service and retail industries.

Over 106,000 work in the secondary sector, which is manufacturing and assembly. The smallest number, 2,073, have jobs in the primary sector — for example, processing raw materials into a finished product.

READ MORE: Five things to know if you're a cross-border worker in Switzerland

These foreigners are holders of the cross-border work permit G, entitling them to work for one year in the border zone of the issuing canton. They must return to their main residence abroad at least once a week.

However, even though they don’t reside in Switzerland permanently, they still need to take out Swiss health insurance, and follow special rules concerning taxes, unemployment benefits, driving, and financial services.

Several months ago The Local explained these sometimes-complex regulations, which vary according to the worker's country of residence.

These foreign employees like working for Swiss companies because they earn considerably higher wages than they would in their own homelands for comparable jobs. And since they don’t live in Switzerland full time, they don’t have to deal with its notoriously high cost of living.

Cross-border commuters can be employed in Switzerland thanks to a bilateral agreement that the government signed with the countries of the European Union. It allows EU nationals free access to the Swiss labour market.

READ MORE: Swiss set to vote again on limiting EU migration



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also