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Foreign population inches towards 20 per cent mark

The proportion of foreigners resident in Switzerland is continuing to rise, reaching 19.3 per cent at the end of April. One of the main reasons for the increase is the economic growth, which has boosted demand for foreign workers.

The Federal Aliens Office said on Monday the number of foreign residents had risen by 20,000 over the past year, to just under 1.38 million. The figures exclude seasonal workers, asylum-seekers and international civil servants.

The single largest group of nationals is from Italy: with 325,000 people, they make up 23.7 per cent of the foreign population. Yugoslav nationals represent 13.8 per cent of foreign residents. However, the office said both of these groups were in decline.

The next largest groups are Portuguese (9.8 per cent), Germans (7.6 per cent), Spaniards (6.3 per cent) and Turks (5.8 per cent).

Thirty per cent of immigrants arriving in Switzerland over the past year came to join their families, while 20 per cent of new arrivals came to take up jobs. There are now more than 876,000 foreigners working in Switzerland, a 2.5 per cent increase over the previous year, although nearly 150,000 live across the border in neighbouring France, Austria, Germany or Italy.

swissinfo with agencies

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