FOR MEMBERS

Where are Switzerland’s cross-border commuters based – and where do they work?

Workers from France make up the largest proportion of frontier employees. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini /afP
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the number of frontier commuters working in Switzerland went up at the end of 2020. Where are most of them based?

An estimated 344,000 people with a G-Permit (authorisation granted to cross-border workers) were employed in Switzerland between October and December 2020.

That is 1.4 percent more than in the same period in 2019 according, to a new study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

In all, border commuters constitute 20.7 percent of Switzerland’s foreign employees.

Just over half of the border workforce — 55.2 percent — was domiciled in France, followed by Italy (23.4 percent) and Germany (18.1 percent).

The chart below shows how these percentages translate into numbers.

By far the largest concentration of frontier workers (130, 741) is in the Lake Geneva region, which encompasses cantons of Geneva and Vaud, both of which share a border with France.

READ MORE: Why are cross-border workers exempted from Switzerland’s new travel restrictions? 

The next  region (72,211) is northwestern Switzerland — primarily Jura, which borders France, and Basel, which shares a frontier with both France and Germany. Ticino is in the third place, where 70,115 workers from Italy are employed.

While FSO’s figures show an increase in the number of border workers in the last three months of 2020, other data indicates that commuters from both France and Italy lost their Swiss jobs in the same time period.

 A trade union in Ticino said 3,000 cross-border workers lost their jobs in 2020, the number that was expected to increase to 4,000 by the end of December. 

And 13 percent of workforce from France — roughly 19,500 people— have also become unemployed in 2020. 

In both cases, the highest rate of unemployment has been in the gastronomy sector, due to the prolonged closure of bars and restaurants. 

READ MORE: Tax rules cross-border workers in Switzerland need to know 

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