For what administrative reason are migrants admitted in Switzerland?


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When individuals are granted a Swiss residence permit (L, B or C permit), a reason for their immigration is specified by administrative staff. This reason does not reflect the individual’s personal reason for migrating, but the reason for the granting of a permit.

Overall, the three main reasons for entry are work (steady increase since 2011), family reunification and education.

However, there are major differences according to continent of origin. Work is the reason for entry for 55.5% of individuals arriving from another European country, but only for 3% of those arriving from Africa and for 16% of those arriving from the American continent.

Family reunification accounts for more than half of North and South American migration. Education is the reason most frequently given by Asians. Immigrants seeking to obtain asylum-related residence status are in the minority for all continents, but for obvious reasons their numbers are higher among African nationals than for other regions of origin. It is important to note that individuals who are granted long-term legal status following an application for asylum are included in these statistics, but not asylum seekers (N permit) and persons granted provisional admission (F permit).

How many asylum seekers are there in Switzerland?


L permit: short-term permit (up to twelve months)

B permit: residence permit (renewable annually)

C permit: settlement permit (after five or ten years)

N permit: asylum seeker

F permit: provisional admission (in the context of an asylum application)

Source: State Secretariat of Migration (SEM), SYMIC Register (2010–2015)

Note on the methodology: This data has been provided by the SEM, and is not directly comparable with STATPOP statistics. Because of the significant number of gaps in STATPOP statistics, preference has been given to SEM data.

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