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Naturalised Swiss do better than natives

Naturalised Swiss citizens fare better in education than their Swiss-born peers Keystone

Naturalised second-generation immigrants are high flyers when it comes to education and a career, surpassing their Swiss-born peers, says new research.

However, a Swiss passport is not necessarily a solid guarantee to success on the job market or proper integration.

Two studies by the Federal Statistics Office on children born in Switzerland to immigrants show that the offspring are often better educated and have better jobs than their mothers and fathers.

About half a million people belong to this category, a third of whom possess Swiss nationality.

The so-called “secondos” were also found to be more driven than their Swiss peers when it came to educating themselves.

The study revealed that 27 per cent of naturalised second-generation immigrants went on to higher education compared with just 17 per cent of native-born Swiss.


However, there was a yawning gap between secondos with Swiss nationality and those without. Only one in ten in the latter category made it into a university or technical college.

The Statistics Office said that a recipe for success included the following ingredients: naturalisation, a good school education and parents with a university qualification or equivalent.

Nearly half of naturalised 20-year-olds with immigrant parents falling under this category went on to higher education.

For their non-naturalised counterparts, the rate fell to one third.

However, the percentage of those born Swiss with similarly educated parents was lower still at 23 per cent.

Earlier the better

The study concluded that the earlier naturalisation occurred, the better the chances of integration and of having a successful career.

Secondos from Spain and Italy were the best integrated in Swiss society, the study discovered.

Those of Serbian, Montenegrin, Kosovar, Turkish and Portuguese origin faced a tougher ride. They tended to experience more difficulties assimilating to Swiss culture and worked in low-qualified positions.

However, higher unemployment rates for naturalised citizens were proof that a Swiss passport alone could not guarantee integration or professional success.


There are 500,000 people born to immigrant parents in Switzerland.
About one-third have become Swiss nationals.
A first-generation immigrant is someone who has moved to Switzerland, after being born elsewhere.
A second-generation immigrant is born to first-generation immigrants.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR