Number of Foreign Workers in Switzerland Increases Due to Labour Shortages


Immigration among permanent foreign residents in Switzerland rose by 19,118 people to 181,553 last year, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has revealed.

Of those, nearly 80 per cent (130,483) came from EU or EFTA countries, while third-country nationals accounted for 51,070 individuals, reports.

Such an increase is attributed to the continuous demand in the Swiss labour market, as noted by SEM.

On the other hand, 75,291 individuals left Switzerland throughout 2023, which is 1,555 more compared to 2022. Of those, 57,222 were citizens of EU/EFTA, whereas 18,069 were third-country nationals.

Meanwhile, the net immigration, the difference between immigration and emigration (including statistical corrections) in the permanent foreign resident population rose by 17,506 people to 98,851 people compared to 2022.

Foreign Workers Helped Alleviate Labour Shortage

Of 130,483 EU/EFTA citizens who immigrated to Switzerland last year, over 70 per cent (92,318) came for permanent employment, whereas 75,346 immigrated for seasonal jobs.

Both categories increased by 16.3 and 13.7 per cent respectively, compared to 2022.

Economically, 2023 was characterised by favourable economic conditions and stable employment growth. Against this backdrop, the increasing number of foreign workers has helped alleviate the general shortage of skilled and unskilled labour.

Swiss State Secretariat for Migration

Regarding restricted residence permits for third-country workers, 75 per cent of the short-stay permits (3,016) and 80 per cent of the residence permits (3,616) were used throughout 2023.

Meanwhile, family reunification accounted for 26.5 per cent of immigration for long-term stays. More specifically, 46,281 people moved to Switzerland through family reunification, with 15 per cent of them being family members of a Swiss citizen. Compared to 2022, family reunification cases increased by 7.6 per cent.

SEM further revealed that between 2009 and 2023, about 44 per cent of all individuals who entered Switzerland in 2009 โ€“ nearly 132,000 individuals in the permanent resident population โ€“ had left the country.

15 per cent of those who were admitted in 2009, obtained Swiss citizenship, whereas 33 per cent were granted a residence permit.

This permit is granted under certain conditions, especially if integration criteria are met after five to ten years of residence in Switzerland.

Swiss State Secretariat for Migration

Overall, the total number of foreigners living permanently in Switzerland last year was over 2.3 million.ย  Of those, 1,540,798 were EU/EFTA nationals and 772,419 accounted for third-country citizens.

The top four largest foreigners are Italians (342,454), followed by Germans (326,033), Portuguese (260,462), and French (165,684). In addition, over 41,000 foreigners were naturalised.


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