How foreigners feel about Switzerland depends largely on where they come from and why they came, according to survey due for release next year. The survey, entitled ‘On the Move‘, questions seven groups: Germans, Austrians, French, Italians, British, Spaniards, Portuguese, North Americans, Indians, West Africans and South Americans.
For 53% of foreigners, Switzerland is the first foreign country they have lived in outside of their own, however this percentage varies significantly by nationality. The most international foreigners are British. Around 72% of UK nationals have lived in one or more countries outside of Switzerland or the UK. 42% have lived in two or more. After Brits come North Americans. 64% of this group have lived in one or more countries outside of Switzerland or their home nation.
At the other end of the internationalism spectrum sit the Portuguese. 67% have never lived anywhere other than Switzerland or Portugal.
The main reason for moving to Switzerland is work (62%). This is most true for Germans (>70%) and British (just under 70%). Close to two thirds of French, Italians and Austrians also come for professional reasons. For Portuguese the percentage is a little over 50%. The main reason for West Africans and South Americans to come to Switzerland is for family. Around two thirds of of those from these regions come for this reason.
70% of those making a professional move to Switzerland report an improvement in their jobs. Only 12% say their situation is worse. 75% of those from southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy) feel their work situation is better. Those from northern Europe and North America are less enthusiastic. Only 60% think they are better off professionally.
The average level of education among foreigners is high. Those most likely to have tertiary education are Indians (96%), North Americans (94%) and British (91%). Those least likely to have tertiary education are Portuguese (24%), West Africans (44%) and South Americans (52%).
Women are less happy with their Swiss jobs than men. Overall 15% of women say working in Switzerland is a downgrade compared to 10% of men.
Between 24% and 52% say they have experienced discrimination, depending on their nationality. 24% of Austrians says they have experienced this, compared to 52% of West Africans. When it comes to gender, the British and North Americans are the most likely to say they have experienced discrimination (20%). Women (19%) more than men (2%) however.
The true test of affinity with Switzerland is surely the desire to become Swiss. Overall, 40% are keen to become Swiss citizens, 27% are not, and 34% are undecided. Those most motivated to apply are from West Africa (68%) and South America (63%). Austrians (25%), Portuguese (27%), Spaniards (30%), British (34%) and Germans (35%) are the least interested. French (54%) are in the middle. And overall men (42%) are a bit keener than women (37%).
Reasons for applying to become a Swiss national include: voting (26%), feeling an attachment to Switzerland (25%) and practical reasons, like the right to stay in Switzerland (22%). Those not wanting to become Swiss say they don’t plan to stay (27%), don’t want to give up their current nationality (23%), or have no interest (17%).