Switzerland's foreign population has reached a record level after increasing by two per cent over the past year.This content was published on October 16, 2001 - 11:41
According to statistics released on Monday by the Federal Office for Foreigners, the proportion of non-Swiss residents increased to 19.6 per cent at the end of August. This represents 1.4 million people.
Not included in the numbers are international civil servants, seasonal workers and temporary residents.
Members of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association represent 57 per cent of foreigners living in Switzerland. Italy leads in this group with 315,608 people (22.4% of the total).
Citizens of countries that were part of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) number 343,739 people, or 24.4 per cent. More than half are Yugoslavs.
Just behind are immigrants from Portugal (9.6%), Germany (8.1%), Spain (5.8%), Turkey (5.7%), France (4.3%), Macedonia (4.1%) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (3.2%).
The office says more foreigners have been applying for work permits because of an improvement in the job market. At the end of August, the number of foreigners working in Switzerland increased by 40,403 to stand at 936,437.
This is a 4.5 per cent increase compared with the previous year.
swissinfo with agencies
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