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Switzerland a top place for skilled foreign workers and students

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Switzerland is ranked the most attractive destination for international students. Keystone

Switzerland is one of the most attractive locations for highly qualified foreign workers, according to a new study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). 

In a ranking of 35 countries presented on Wednesday, Switzerland comes third behind Australia and Sweden as an attractive destination for skilled workers with a Masters degree or doctorate.

This is one of the findings in the OECD Indicators of Talent AttractivenessExternal link, which look at how countries compare for attractiveness to three key groups of potential migrants – highly educated workers, entrepreneurs and international students.

The rankings look at quality of opportunities; income and tax; future prospects; family environment; skills environment; inclusiveness; and quality of life. They also take into account how difficult it is for prospective migrants with required skills to obtain a visa or residence permit.

According to the researchers, the fact that Switzerland, where German is the most widely spoken language, ranks higher than other German-speaking countries is due to its “welcome culture” as well as higher salaries and lower taxes.

Germany comes 12th in the ranking while Austria comes 17th. Other neighbouring countries France and Italy are placed 22nd and 31st respectively, while Greece, Mexico and Turkey came bottom of the rankings.  

Top for students

Switzerland also came third in the OECD ranking of the best locations for entrepreneurs, behind Canada and New Zealand. The good performance of these countries reflects the relatively low minimum investment and job creation requirements in these countries, according to the researchers.

And as an attractive destination for foreign students, the OECD puts Switzerland top. Second, third and fourth place in this ranking go to Norway, Germany and Finland. 

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