More and more expats choosing to come to Switzerland, data reveals

More and more expats choosing to come to Switzerland, data reveals

The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) and State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) has revealed that the number of new expats and internationals coming to Switzerland increased significantly in the first six months of 2023. The government explained that low unemployment, and the resulting large number of available jobs in Switzerland, was the main driver of migration.

Net migration to Switzerland increases to over 47.000

In the first half of 2023, 85.732 people claimed Swiss residence permits for the very first time, a 14,2 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022. Total net migration - immigration minus emigration - also increased to +47.200. 

Of these new arrivals, around 45 percent were committed to fixed work contracts, while 55 percent were given permanent work in Switzerland. In all, as of June 2023, more than 2.275.965 non-Swiss citizens call the alpine nation home.

The FSO noted that 61.808 new migrants were citizens from the European Union or the European Free Trade Association, representing a 16,5 percent increase compared to the same period last year, while 23.924 were from outside the two blocs, an 8,6 percent rise. German citizens were the most common group to come to Switzerland, followed by French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish nationals.

New expats filling the Swiss skills shortage

In a statement given to Watson, the SEM explained that the strength of the Swiss economy, especially compared to others in Europe, was and continues to be the main driving force behind the high immigration figures. The lowest levels of unemployment in 20 years have been paired with significant skills and worker shortages across the country, which has necessitated the recruitment of new expats and internationals.

Authorities noted that Swiss industrial and service businesses are still looking for new employees. As of June 2023, the SEM reported that hospitality, planning, consulting, IT, commerce and healthcare are the sectors that need the most new workers.

Thumb image credit: Yuri Turkov /

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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