At the end of August, Switzerland was home to nearly 1,667,000 foreigners who had been living in the country for at least a year, according to the Migration Office.
However, the rate of increase in the number of residence permit holders was less than for the previous 12 months. The office attributed this to the economic downturn which started last autumn.
The number of foreign residents from countries benefiting from an agreement on the free movement of peoples increased by 4.6 per cent in the year to the end of August. Under the agreement, nationals of signatory countries are allowed to live and work in any of the others.
The agreement covers the 27 member states of the European Union and the four members of the European Free Trade Association.
In the 12 month period up to August 2008 the number of EU/EFTA citizens increased by 7.9 per cent.
The number of residents from countries outside the EU rose by only 0.3 per cent in the year to the end of August 2009. Under the new law on foreigners, only very highly qualified employees may be recruited from such countries.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
In compliance with the JTI standards