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Attractive destination Switzerland continues to attract cross-border workers

The number of cross-border workers has increased by over 25% in a span of five years


The number of people crossing the border to work in Switzerland every day has increased by almost 4% compared to the year before. 

At the end of 2016, 318,500 cross-border workers were active in Switzerland – an increase of 11,300 over the previous year. Despite the increase, the top Swiss destinations and worker composition remain stable. Lake Geneva (37.2%), northwest Switzerland (22.8%) and the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino (20.2%) remain top destinations for commuters from across the border. However, in terms of proportion of the working population, Ticino was the most affected with over a quarter of its workforce (27.1%) made up of commuters from over the border, followed by Lake Geneva (12.3%) and the north-western part of the country (10.8%). 

The composition of cross-border workers was almost the same as last year, with residents in France (54.9%) taking top spot, followed by those living in Italy (22.6%) and Germany (19.3%). Those with a longer commute – i.e., not residing in neighbouring countries – made up a mere 0.5% and came from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Belgium, and the UK. 

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The majority of the cross-border workers were engaged in the services industry, with 40% working in either the manufacturing or automobile sector. With the signing of bilateral agreements with neighbouring countries, the majority of work permits given to cross-border workers are valid for five years, compared to the previous period of one or two years.

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