The number of foreigners living in Switzerland has risen by nearly three per cent over the past year, statistics from the Federal Migration Office reveal.
At the end of August, 1,751,301 foreigners were living in Switzerland, accounting for 22.3 per cent of permanent residents in the country.
Citizens of the European Union and Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland – which are covered by agreements with Switzerland on the free movement of people – increased by 43,805 to 1,129,638 people in the year from the end of August 2010 to the end of August 2011.
The number of other foreign nationals increased by 5,050 to 621,633 people.
The increase in foreign permanent residents is due to increases in nationals from Kosovo (+17,864), Germany (+14,395), Portugal (+9,816), France (+4,388) and Britain (+2,365), the Migration Office said in a statement.
However, the increase in Kosovars can also be explained by a number of Swiss residents, previously identified as Serbian, having registered as Kosovars since the declaration of that country’s independence in 2008, the Migration Office said.
The number of Serbs resident in Switzerland decreased by 19,910 people over the course of the year.
Italians are the largest foreign national group with 289,555 people, followed by Germans with 272,906 people, Portuguese with 220,446 people, Serbs with 105,737 people and French with 97,288 citizens resident in Switzerland.
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