Net migration to Switzerland soared to nearly 100.000 people in 2023

Net migration to Switzerland soared to nearly 100.000 people in 2023

The latest data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has revealed that 2023 was a boom year for expats coming to Switzerland. Over 181.000 people chose to register last year, while net migration to the alpine nation rose by 11,8 percent.

181.553 people moved to Switzerland in 2023

According to the findings, 181.553 people moved to Switzerland in 2023, while 75.291 left the country to live overseas. This meant that net migration stood at +98.851 people last year, 17.506 or 11,8 percent more than in 2022.

At the end of 2023, a total of 2.313.217 residents were not born in the country, nor had Swiss citizenship, accounting for around 26 percent of the total population. While German citizens were the most common arrival in Switzerland last year, Italians are still the largest non-Swiss group at 342.454 people, followed by Germans (326.033), Portuguese (260.462) and French (165.684).

Citizens from European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states made up the vast majority of new arrivals in 2023 at 71,9 percent. This is perhaps not surprising, given that it is much easier for EU citizens to apply for a Swiss residence permit compared to applicants from outside the EU and EFTA. In fact, the FSO noted that only between 75 and 80 percent of limited residence permits available to those from outside the two blocs were used last year.

Majority of immigrants to Switzerland come for work

A majority of people who moved to the country last year came for work, with 70,7 percent of immigrants registering to fill a job in Switzerland. The government noted that these new workers have a positive impact on the economy: “The increasing number of foreign workers has helped to reduce the general shortage of skilled workers.”

The second most common reason to come to Switzerland was for reunification with family, with 26,5 percent of people (46.281 individuals) moving to be with loved ones or partners. 15 percent were family members of Swiss citizens. 

Do expats and internationals remain in Switzerland?

With population growth remaining a continual part of political discussion in Switzerland - especially after the Swiss People’s Party’s No 10 Million Switzerland! initiative gained enough signatures to be voted on - the data also gave more insight into how the expat population has evolved, and whether internationals choose to remain in the country or not. The office noted that between 2009 and 2023, 44 percent of people who had moved to Switzerland had already left by the end of last year.

Of those who have moved to Switzerland since 2009, 15 percent chose to naturalise and become Swiss citizens, while 33 percent fulfilled the “integration criteria” required to gain a “Settlement” C-residence permit. In 2023, 41.073 completed the integration process and received their Swiss passport.

For more information about the data, check out the FSO website.

Thumb image credit: DrimaFilm /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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