REVEALED: Switzerland's foreign workforce continues to grow

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
REVEALED: Switzerland's foreign workforce continues to grow
EU workers continue to flock to Switzerland. Photo: Pixabay

In the first half of 2023, thousands of foreigners came to Switzerland, boosting the total number of the permanent population and cross-border commuters alike.


Between January and June of this year, the net immigration of foreigners who reside permanently in Switzerland grew by 9,384 people people, to reach 47,200 .

At the end of June 2023, a total of 2,275,965 foreigners resided in Switzerland on a permanent basis.

This is what emerges from new data released by State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) on Thursday. 

Overall, the foreign permanent resident population grew by 14.2 percent during the first six months of the year  compared to the same period of 2022, SEM said.

Who are these newcomers?

The vast majority are workers from the EU/EFTA states, as they benefit from an almost unlimited access  to Switzerland’s employment market.

READ ALSO: How EU immigrant workers have become 'essential' for Switzerland

In all, immigration from EU / EFTA countries increased by 16.5 percent between January and June, with people from Germany, France, Italy, and Portugal accounting for half of the new arrivals.

At the same time, only 1,535 people from outside EU / EFTA came to work in Switzerland.

The discrepancy in numbers can be explained by the fact that rules are much stricter for third-country nationals, and the number of permits available to them is much lower. 

The number of cross-border workers has also risen during this period of time — 41,747 new G permits were issued to commuters from France, Germany, and Italy, compared to 38,547 in the first six months of 2022.


Why do foreign workers continue to come to Switzerland?

As has been the case since 2002, then the agreement on the Free Movement of Persons went into effect, foreigners have been attracted by Switzerland’s job opportunities and high wages.

READ ALSO: Why do foreign workers flock to Switzerland? 

Now, as then, “this development remains strongly linked to the labour market,” SEM said.

This is especially the case given shortages of skilled employees in many sectors.

“The economic situation plays a driving role in the development of demand" [for foreign labour], SEM noted.

In many professions, recruitment abroad has made it possible to compensate for the shortage “especially in sectors such as consulting and IT, as well as trade and healthcare,” according to SEM.


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Carlos De Sousa 2023/08/18 23:23
This must be wrong: “the foreign permanent resident population grew by 14.2 percent during the first six months of the year compared to the same period of 2022”. It’s not possible for the foreign population to grow by 14% in one year, you probably meant that the number of newly arrived immigrants or in other words the flow of immigrants (as opposed to the stock) increased by 14%, which would be quite normal given that the flow was low during covid.

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