Switzerland has seen a slowdown in the numbers of immigrants coming from European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (Efta) countries.
At the end of December 2009, the number of permanent residents of EU and Efta nationality reached 1,066,086, an increase of 3.9 per cent on 2008, according the Federal Migration Office.
The previous year on year growth for the same group reached 6.8 per cent. Authorities said the slowdown in immigration corresponded with the economic downturn.
The number of nationals from countries outside the EU or Efta increased by 0.3 per cent between the end of 2008 and the end of 2009, bringing the total number of foreign residents to 1,680197 out of population of 7.7 million.
More than 27,000 people registered as Kosovars in 2009 – the largest increase in any nationality. But authorities mainly attributed this growth to Kosovars switching from Serb nationality following Kosovo’s independence.
There were 31,093 fewer Serbs resident in Switzerland at the end of 2009.
The other nationalities with the highest rate of growth last year were Germans (+17,119), Portuguese (+9,087), French (+4,955) and British (+ 2,222).
Figures published by the Federal Migration Office cover all those with residence permits for 12 months or more. Those going through the asylum process are not included.