Figures released by the Swiss federal office of statistics (BFS) show that in 2013, the population of Switzerland grew by 1.3 per cent to 8.14 million. Two-thirds of the new 100,600 residents were foreign immigrants, bringing the total number of expats living in Switzerland to 1.9 million.
The high number of immigrants are a reflection of the widespread global attraction to life in Switzerland, with foreigners now making up 23.8 per cent of the total population, an increase of 0.5 percent over the year before.
According to Eurostat, Switzerland saw the second largest increase of inhabitants in Europe in 2013, second only to Italy. 66 per cent of expats settling in Switzerland arrived from other European countries, with 30 per cent coming from Germany and Italy combined.
Swiss citizens voting in a referendum on immigration last November overwhelmingly rejected caps on immigration, which was good news for expats from around the world who are considering making Switzerland their second home. Around 74.1 per cent of the Swiss voted against putting an immigration cap, which would have reduced the number of immigrants entering the country from 80,000 to 16,000 per year. The huge margin of the voting results reflects Switzerland’s favorable outlook on immigration.
The immigration cap had concerned many stakeholders, who worried about the potential impact it would have on the economy in the long run. Several politicians and businessmen alike had warned that such a cap would make the country more isolated from the European Union.
But with the continuing global fascination with Swiss lifestyle, culture and the countryside, as well as the warmth and welcoming nature of the Swiss people, the steady increase of people of foreign backgrounds taking up residence in Switzerland is expected to continue.