Expat population of Switzerland swells as immigration increases by 14 percent

Expat population of Switzerland swells as immigration increases by 14 percent

The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has found that the number of people choosing to live permanently in Switzerland increased by 14,8 percent in 2022. At the end of December, exactly 2.241.854 expats and internationals called the country home.

Rise in immigration attributed to worker shortages in Switzerland

In a statement, the FSO said that immigration to Switzerland increased by 20.886 people (14,8 percent) in 2022 compared to the year before. The FSO said that this new rise in migration is because of the ongoing skills shortage in Switzerland, which has led entrepreneurs, international companies and domestic Swiss businesses to look abroad for new workers.

Of the new residence permits issued in 2022, the majority were given to those with EU or EFTA citizenship. 114.393 people immigrated to Switzerland from EU and EFTA nations, 20,6 percent more than in 2021, while 48.042 came to the alpine nation from further afield - a 2,9 percent rise on the previous year. 

Expats and internationals make up 25,8 percent of Swiss population

Net migration - immigration minus emigration - stood at 81.345 people in 2022. This means that the expat population grew to 2.241.854 people by the end of December 2022, accounting for around 25,8 percent of the total population.

The FSO added that, in 2022, of the 166.919 people who came to work jobs in Switzerland, 76.286 (15 percent more) came to work temporarily while 90.633 (26 percent more) came to fulfil full-time work contracts. The government attributed these rises to an acute shortage of labour in the planning, consulting, IT, hospitality, healthcare and trade sectors.

Most come to Switzerland to fill jobs, FSO noted

The desire to work in Switzerland remained the most common motivation for moving to the country, followed by family reunification (26,5 percent) and the desire to pursue higher education through technical college or university (10,4 percent).

Finally, the FSO concluded that in 2022, 41.321 expats and internationals made the final step towards becoming Swiss citizens. Of those that did become naturalised, most were German citizens, with 8.946 applicants, followed by Italian and French.

For more information, please consult the official press release (in German).

Thumb image credit: Yury24 /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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