Tribune de Genève.
According to the canton’s statistics office, the number of foreigners with permits allowing them to cross in to the canton of Geneva to work rose by 8.7% in 2016, reaching 104,272 by the end of December 2016. This is the highest number of G permit holders, or frontaliers, ever recorded in the canton.
Because G permits last for five years, the total includes some who are no longer working. On the other hand, Swiss citizens residing outside Switzerland are not included because they do not require work permits. In addition, many international civil servants are not included.
The vast majority of cross-border workers live in France, either in the department of Haute-Savoie (74%) or Ain (19%). The rest commute from Savoie, Jura, Rhône, Doubs or another country.
13,283 new G permits were issued in 2016. Of the 4,941 relinquishing their G permits in 2016, 989 moved to Geneva. The same number in 2015 was 1,435. Most of those making this move obtained B permits.
At the same time Geneva’s level of unemployment fell slightly from 5.6% to 5.5% year on year, according to the statistics office. In 2016, Geneva moved from having Switzerland’s highest rate of unemployment in to second place behind the canton of Neuchâtel, which had an unemployment rate of 5.8% at the end of the year.
In 2011, the latest figure available, Geneva had an active population of 318,300. If this figure had grown in line with the total population (494,666 by 30 September 2016) then there would be 339,396 active workers. This would make cross-border workers 31% of the total.
Geneva’s proportion of cross-border workers is similar to Luxembourg’s. In 2016, Luxembourg had an active population of 394,197 of which 177,1100 commuted from one of the neighbouring countries, almost 45% of the workforce.