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A third of migrants leave Switzerland within a year

A wide-ranging study on the patterns and prospects of those with migration backgrounds in Switzerland has been published by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

“A Panorama of Swiss Society 2020: Migration-Integration-Participation”, co-authored by researchers at the Universities of Neuchâtel and Fribourg, was published on Tuesday.

Studying a range of indicators like income, living conditions, employment and mobility, the authors present a selection of chapters and themes documenting the experience of migrants.

Here are some of the key top-level findings:

– Although the number of people in Switzerland with foreign citizenship is some 2.1 million (25% of the population), the number of those aged 15 and over with a migration background reaches 2.7 million, or 38% of the total

– The employment rate for migrants during their year of arrival tends to be much lower than that for Swiss citizens; this gap then decreases the longer a migrant stays, though the gap never disappears fully

– A third of migrants leave in the first year, while half stay for longer than three years.

– Households with a migration background have a lower disposable income and are less likely to own their own home; they also share their income and wealth with more people than households with no migration background.

– Overall, migrants “contribute more than they receive” from the Swiss social security system, and “the taxes they pay have a positive influence on gross domestic product.

– Internal migration within Switzerland is also an important trend: every year about 9% of the population moves home, and an average person will do so 7.5 times in their life; however, moves of more than 100 kilometres account for only 2% of this migration.

The entire report, as well as each individual chapter dealing with the above themes, is available in English here.

The report is the latest in a series of “Swiss Social Reports” that have appeared five times since 2000. The next publication is planned for 2024, the FSO says.