How Immigration Has Changed in Switzerland

In February 2014 Swiss citizens voted for a limitation of immigration, especially from EU countries. This was a proposition of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) although all other governing parties were opposed to it. It will certainly have impact on the relations between EU and Switzerland.

A few figures
In 2014 23.4% of the population living in Switzerland are foreigners. Based on European Commission figures, about 1 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and 230’000 cross border to work there, while 430’000 Swiss live in the EU. Those people represent a major work force in the country, particularly for the Life Sciences and Banking sectors.

Since then I have been asked by several people I was in touch with about the consequences of this vote. First of all from my French cross border point of view, this willingness to limit the mass immigration is a sort of trend in all of Europe but Switzerland is the first country to take such a decision. Another important thing for me to mention is that when we take a closer look  at the results we see that big cities such as Basel have not voted in favor of this limitation mostly because of the bigger international exposure. Moreover, I can hardly imagine big companies such as Novartis, Credit Suisse, Roche or UBS working without non-Swiss employees.

For the moment there is no specific limit set yet. This should come by 2017. However the government will have to act carefully as only 50.3% of the votes were in favor of this initiative and also not to send alarm signals to the private sector. For 2014 we saw 80’000 fewer job openings and investment slowed down.

No matter what, our Stamford team is always available to discuss this topic with you.

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Margot Gross

I am originally from France where I studied HR and Business as well as in Finland. After my first recruitment experience in France I joined Stamford to become a Quality/Manufacturing Vertical Master and support the Life Sciences team in closing deals.

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