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Foreigner statistics Immigration to Switzerland drops

A welcome sign

A welcome poster at the cantonal integration office in Chur, eastern Switzerland


Fewer people moved to Switzerland from the European Union and EFTA states as well as third countries in the first half of 2019 than a year ago. 

A total of 63,333 people settled in Switzerland between January and June, the State Secretariat for Migrationexternal link (SEM) announced on Tuesday. This is 1.8% less than in the same period last year. While 44,321 people immigrated from EU/EFTA countries, a decrease of 1.3%, immigration from third countries fell by 2.8% to 19,012. 

At the same time, 35,832 foreigners left Switzerland, 3.9% fewer than in the same period last year. Factoring in deaths and naturalisations, net migration into the resident foreign population amounted to 24,672 people in the first half of the year, down 0.8%. 

More than half of the immigrants (33,245 or 52.5%) came to Switzerland to work. Compared with the previous year, there was an increase in the economic sectors of industry, crafts and services. On the other hand, immigration decreased for jobs in agriculture. 

Fewer family reunifications 

For 17,701 people (28%), family reunification was the reason for settling in Switzerland. This is 8.6% less than in the same period last year. More than one in five of them was a family member of a Swiss citizen. 

From EU/EFTA countries, 8,499 people – mainly from Italy, Germany, France and Portugal – moved to Switzerland for family reunification. There were 9,202 people from third countries, with Kosovo at the top of the list, ahead of North Macedonia, Brazil and India. 

In the first half of the year, 4,676 foreigners moved to Switzerland for training or further education. In addition, 2,383 people received a residence permit without gainful employment and 3,064 people from the asylum sector changed their residence status. 

According to the SEM, a total of around 2.1 million foreigners were living in Switzerland at the end of June. Of these, 323,384 came from Italy, 308,532 from Germany, 265,501 from Portugal and 137,514 from France. Switzerland has a total population of 8.4 million.


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