Statistics published yesterday show a drop in net foreign migration into Switzerland of 18.3% over the first nine months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. The drop was driven by a 6.9% decline in immigration, combined with a 4.7% increase in emigration.
The number arriving from the EU and EFTA countries dropped by 7.8%, more than the 6.9% drop in the aggregate figure. The only EU immigration numbers to climb were those from Romania and Bulgaria, which rose from 5,065 to 5,461. This pushed up the number of permanent residents from these two countries by 14.2% to 20,450. The numbers arriving from EU 171 countries were down nearly 8%, delivering a small increase of 1.4% in the number of permanent residents from these nations. The number of Croats, the EU’s newest member, living in Switzerland, declined by 1.8% between 30 September 2015 and 30 September 2016.
Immigration from outside the EU and EFTA was up 10% at 5,537.
While fewer decided to come to Switzerland, those already permanently resident were more eager to become Swiss. Naturalisations were up nearly 14%. Over the 9 months to 30 September 2016, 29,189 people gained Swiss nationality. The top 5 included, Italy (622), Portugal (619) France (554), Germany (545) and Kosovo (541). To some extent these numbers reflect the numbers of permanent residents from these nations. At the end of September there were 318,000 Italians, 304,000 Germans, 270,000 Portuguese, 126,000 French, and 111,000 Kosovars living permanently in Switzerland. Together these 5 countries made up 56% of the 2.022,000 foreign permanent resident population of Switzerland at 30 September 2016.
The biggest jump was in the number of French becoming Swiss. The number shot up 246% to 554. Second were the Portuguese, with a 94% increase. The number of Germans becoming Swiss fell by 12%, as did the number of Turks, which fell by 19% to 179.
In percentage terms, the rise in emigration was greatest among the EU 82 countries (+13.3%), and non-EU EFTA nations (+7.4%). Numerically the largest rises in the numbers leaving were from the EU 171 (+1,153 people) and non-EU EFTA nations (+1,044).
1 Austria, France, Italy, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Malta, Spain, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, United Kingdom.
2 Czech Republic, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary.
Swiss state secretariat for migration press release (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now
Swiss state secretariat for migration press release (in German)