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Immigration situation of Switzerland



The problem of immigrants has contributed to be one of the thorny issues in the world as we enter into the new millennium. There has been increased legal and illegal immigration over the world which has been prompted by push and pull factor. The push factors have been caused by economic, social and political, problems that have been experienced in many parts for the world. As a result people have been moving from one area to another in search of safer areas. Political unrest which has come with deteriorating economic conditions has been one of the factors that have been prompting people to migrate to other areas. The pull factor has been mainly cantered around the search for greener pastures for better life. As a result there has been increased migration of people especially to the developed nations where there are economic fortunes. The problem of immigration is not new to the world and has been a constant cause of conflict between nations. For example there has been along standing border conflict between Mexico and the United States due to the problem of immigration. Switzer land has not been spared either and there have been increased migration of people to the nation. Some of the regions in the country have been hosting a large number of immigrants than others. For example St. Gallan is one of the regions in the country that has a high population of immigrants. (Clive, 2004)

History of Immigrant in Switzerland

Due to the economic development that has been taking place in the country, there was increased immigration of people in an out of the country sine the early 1800s. The outflow of Swiss from their country had been well compensated by the inflow of foreigners especial German, Italians and Australia.

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The issue of immigration from Switzerland is not new and it dates back to many centuries ago. Most of this immigration who replaced the outflow of Swiss was political refugees and many of there were well educated. The first big wave of immigration in the country came after the collapse of the revolution movement in the country neighbour which happened around 1830. The second wave came immediately after the defeat of the revolution in 1848. Many on of the new immigration how came to the country took up professional jobs. For example many of the German immigrants became teachers and when Zurich University was founded in 1833, man of the teaching position went to Germans. (Fahrin, 2003)

There was a major contribution that was made by other immigration especially in the are of industrial and entrepreneurial skills. For example a police born Antoine November de Patek was a joint founded of the Patek Philippine company which has been one of the leading watch makes in Geneva since it was started in 1845.

Several other immigrants especially the Italians made a great contribution to the labour force and were employed in Switzerland engineering project like Gotthard and Simplon rail tunnel. In general we can say that immigrants are not new to the country and they have been making a greater contribution to the development of the country.

The current situation of immigrant in Switzerland

Since 1950, the government signed a convention that has confirmed to grant asylum to many people in the world. There has been increased number of application for asylum in the country and currently there are more people under asylum in Switzerland than in any other nation in the world.

The population of the foreigners in the country has continued to rise since 1950 when it was recorded that 5.9 percent of the people in the country did not have Swiss nationality. The number has continued to increase since then and by 1970, it had risen to 15.9 percent. By 2002, the percentage had swelled to 21.6 percent. This makes it one of the countries in Europe together with Luxembourg which has a percentage of 37 percent, to have the highest number of foreigners in the soil.

There have been factors that have been contributing to the increased number of immigrants in the nation. These are due to several interrelating factors. Although many have seen the neutrality nature of the nation to become one of the leading factors, the main reason that the country has been embracing such a high number of foreigners in its soil have been due to the need to have foreign labour. Since the exodus of the Swiss from their nation, the country has been relying on foreign labour. It has been shown that immigrating composes about 25% of the workforce with 50% working in hotel and restaurant and 33% working in the construction industry. (Riedo, 2008)

At the same time there has been increase emigrating from former Yugoslavia, Turkey and other non European countries. There has been a decreasing number of immigration from Italy and Spain while the number of Yugoslavians, Turks, and Portuguese has been growing day by day. There has also been increased number of immigrants from Sri Lank, India and china with most Sri Lankans seeking asylum while most Indians and Chinese are coming as students.

Adapted from: Migration Information Source: Switzerland faced common European challenges. Available at http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=284

It has been shown that the number of women entering the country has been increasing each day since 2000 as compared to the number of men who has been entering the country. The population of immigrants has also been remitting a good number of some of money every year. According to the national bank, it is estimated that the remittance to the nation has been standing at more than US$2.4 billion every year.

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St. Gallen is one of the cantons in Switzerland which boast of a high population in the country. With a highly population of immigrant in the areas, the canton has an abundant labour that supplies all its industries. Most of immigration in the canton are so Spanish origin having settled there long time ago. The canton is well situated as an important port of entrance through the sea which makes it one of the most important starting points for immigrating in the areas.

St. Galen has been one of the cantons in the country that has been racing an increased number of immigrating since they started arriving in the country. Throughout history it has been used as the entry point to the country with majority of the immigrant first settling in the canton before moving out to other areas. As a result it population of immigrants has been selling day by day and currently it has one of the highest number of immigrants in the country.

Although most of immigrants are Spanish of origin, there have been consequential settlements of other people in the area. There has been increasing mixture of different cultures and it is one of the reigns that represent the true fact of the Switzerland as a nation of neutrality. Therefore the canton has a diverse population of diverse origin and this diversity is also reflected in its religious worship. However Christianity is the dominant religion in the canton but there has been a growing number of other religions as well.

With such a high population of foreigners in the canton, there has been an effort to try and integrate them together. The canton has a mixture of many immigrating and therefore the integration efforts have been aimed at ensuring that they live as one in harmony with one another. There have been several other efforts that have been aimed at ensuring that there is harmonisatoi of the Christianity which is the dominant religion in the area with other growing religions as well like the rising number of Muslims and other religions. (Swissowrld.org, 2008)


Clive, C. (2004). The politics and Government of Switzerland. Palgrave Macmillan

Fahrin. D. (2003). An outline of history of Switzerland. Pro Helvetia

MPI, (2008). Country profile: Switzerland faces common European challenges. Retrieved from http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?id=284 on 8th May 2008

Riedo, R. (2008). Immigrating in Switzerland: possibilities and difficulties of integration. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1412079 on 8th May 2008

Swissowrld.org, (2008). Immigration. Retrieved from http://www.swissworld.org/en/history/the_federal_state/immigration/on 8th May 2008


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