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EU migration into Switzerland down significantly in 2017

© Arturo Osorno |

Net migration into Switzerland from the EU was down by 11% last year, according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

In 2017, a net 31,250 people from the EU and EFTA moved to Switzerland. And, with a 4% decline in the number arriving over the five months to May 2018, the fall looks set to continue.

For some nationalities the net flow went into reverse. In 2017, more Portuguese left Switzerland than arrived.

The fall appears to be related to diverging job markets. In 2017, jobs growth in Switzerland trailed the EU.

EU and EFTA arrivals are concentrated at both ends of the job skill spectrum. In 2017, 54 % were tertiary qualified – these percentage were even higher for French (63%) and Germans (50%). At the other end, 17% had no post school qualifications.

In 2017, EU and EFTA nationals were more active than the Swiss population – 87.2% compared to 84.4% of Swiss.

In addition, their burden on the social welfare system (2%) was below the national average (3.2%) and below that of Swiss nationals (2.6%) – 2016 figures.

They were however more likely to be unemployed. In 2016, 5.5% of EU and EFTA nationals in Switzerland were unemployed compared to the national average of 3.3% and 2.4% of Swiss nationals.

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