REVEALED: Most immigrants choose not to stay in Switzerland long-term

The Local Switzerland
The Local Switzerland - [email protected] • 18 Oct, 2022 Updated Tue 18 Oct 2022 15:19 CEST
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More than half of foreigners in Switzerland return to their home countries within a decade. Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

While a large number of foreigners like to settle in Switzerland for the long haul, a narrow majority leave the country within a decade of their arrival, a new study shows.


Of the 223,000 people who immigrated to Switzerland in 2011, 53 percent had left the country by 2021.

This is the finding of a study into migratory movements released by the Federal Statistical Office on Tuesday.

The figures show that some nationalities leave soon after arriving, while others remain for longer periods.

For instance, 50.6 percent of immigrants from EU / EFTA states leave Switzerland within a decade of arrival, while more than 70 percent of North Africans leave within four years.


Other nationalities that linger here longer (but still leave eventually) are North Americans, as well as people from Australia and New Zealand.

The study has not indicated why some foreigners return home sooner than others, but the reason is likely linked to their status.

EU / EFTA nationals usually receive permanent Swiss residency permits pretty easily. Americans, Australians, and people from New Zealand are nationals of third countries, but those who are allowed to come to and remain in Switzerland are most frequently in-demand professionals.

The vast majority of North Africans, on the other hand, come in as asylum seekers who ultimately must leave the country.

READ MORE: Residence permits: How EU and EFTA citizens can live, work and stay in Switzerland

But the migratory route works both ways.

The study also revealed that 23 percent of the 188,000 people who left Switzerland to live abroad a decade ago have returned since then.

Native Swiss make up 55 percent of the returnees, while 40 percent are the Swiss born abroad.

Interestingly enough, more than a quarter of foreigners born in Switzerland who had left the country ended up returning, while 16 percent of those born abroad return as well.

READ MORE: ‘Switzerland works’: What Swiss nationals living abroad miss about home







The Local Switzerland 2022/10/18 15:19

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