Switzerland sees increase in number of foreign workers

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Switzerland sees increase in number of foreign workers
Most foreign workers come from the EU.Photo by AFP

A document released this week by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) indicates “strong immigration of foreign workers” to Switzerland over the past five years.


The FSO reported that between the end of 2014 and the end of 2019, the number of foreign nationals in the Swiss labour market went up by more than 9 percent, for a total of 1.7 million people — roughly 20 percent of Switzerland’s 8.5-million  population.

This increase is five times greater than for workers of Swiss nationality, the FSO said.

But while the numbers have risen, the make-up of the foreign employees remains roughly the same.

The vast majority — nearly 50 percent — hold a C permit (‘settled foreign nationals’), given mainly to those who have lived in Switzerland continuously for five to 10 years.

Many of these workers eventually acquire Swiss citizenship.

Those who have a B permit (‘resident foreign nationals’) account for about 28 percent of foreign workers. 

The majority of the workforce comes from the EU countries.

The report also shows that foreign workers are more affected by unemployment, with a rate twice as high as among the population of Swiss nationality.


However, these figures pre-date the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier in August, the FSO also published a report showing that the number of cross-border workers in Switzerland has also increased. 

There are now 332,177 employees who commute to their Swiss jobs daily from France, Italy, Germany, and Austria —2.9 percent more compared to the same period last year.

But not everyone in the country is happy about the influx of immigrant workers.

Last week, a Swiss right-wing politician, Magdalena Martullo-Blocher, said that foreigners are “taking jobs from the Swiss”.

READ MORE: Foreigners are 'taking jobs from the Swiss,' says politician

This controversial issue will be voted on on September 27th in a referendum seeking to restrict migration to Switzerland.




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