Switzerland less wary of foreigners than a decade ago

12th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

A recent survey revealed that the majority of Swiss felt that the number of foreigners in the country was “not too high.”

Geneva -- Switzerland appears to be less sceptical of foreigners than a decade ago, with most Swiss now finding that the proportion of foreigners residing here is not too high, a survey showed Saturday.

A poll by daily newspaper Tages Anzeiger found that 53.7 percent of those polled felt that the number of foreigners here is "not too high," while 45.7 percent said they found that too many foreigners were residing in Switzerland.

In 1998, a similar survey yielded the reverse.

The change in perception came even as immigration reached a peak in 2008, after immigration restrictions with the European Union were eased in recent years.

In the 1998 poll, 19 percent, or 1.4 million people living in Switzerland were foreigners while the figure in 2009 is 22 percent, or 1.8 million.

The survey found that those from the German-speaking parts of Switzerland appeared to be more wary of foreigners, with 50.9 percent saying that the proportion of foreigners was too high.

In comparison, only 31.1 percent of those from French-speaking Switzerland and 38.7 percent of those from the only Italian-speaking canton Ticino felt that there were too many foreigners.

Many Germans have taken up jobs in eastern Switzerland in recent years, and Switzerland's official anti-racism watchdog in March said it was concerned about growing anti-German xenophobia.

More than 63 percent of Switzerland's population are native German speakers, while one-fifth in the west of the country are French-speaking. Italian is prevalent among six percent of the population in the south.

The poll surveyed 1,103 people.


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