Switzerland has developed into one of the greatest tourist countries in the European Union. From the scenic views around the lakes to the ski resorts that line the Alps, the central European country is the perfect getaway for many people from around the world. While Switzerland remains an ideal travel destination, the number of immigrants from within the EU has drastically fallen in the past year.
Over the past 12 years, the number of immigrants into Switzerland from the EU has seen somewhat of a steady incline. This year, it seems as though something has changed and less movement from the EU to Switzerland is taking place. The immigration levels have not been this low since 2005. While fewer people chose to leave the country this year, the dramatic drop in numbers came from those entering the country. The Swiss migration office (SEM) released that after departures, there were only 25,526 immigrants. A 12% drop from last years statistics show that the changes in Switzerland’s immigration policy are suffering the consequences.
In 2014 Swiss citizens in voted to limit arrivals from the EU. While this went against the bilateral accords guaranteeing free movement of EU citizens, the Swiss were adamant in making their voice heard. This affected not only the workforce but the exchange for enhanced Swiss access to the EU market. Local citizens now have the first crack at any available jobs, but most end up being filled by immigrants. Over half of the foreigners living in Switzerland hail from European countries, mostly from Italy, Germany, and Portugal.
The surprising numbers continued to reach lows, as the SEM calculated 6% fewer arrivals into the country thus far in 2017. No factual evidence as to why this decline occurred is available. However, analysts believe that due to economies being on the up in countries such as Spain and Portugal, is giving immigrants more of a reason to return home. Many immigrants chose Switzerland for work purposes, while smaller fractions of people venture to the country to join family members or study.
Over 2 million foreigners call Switzerland home. This makes up a quarter of the population. While the numbers continue dropping, the Swiss government should assess the true impact that immigrants have on the country as a whole.