How many asylum seekers are there in Switzerland?


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In 2014, there were a total of 28,600 asylum seekers (N permit), and 19,400 persons granted provisional admission (F permit) in Switzerland. These numbers are slowly increasing. This represents a total proportion of 0.6% of the permanent population and 2.3% of the foreign population.

Asylum seekers and persons granted provisional admission are allocated between the cantons according to the canton population. This allocation formula is the reason for the low level of variation between cantons. In 2014, the proportion of asylum seekers/persons granted provisional admission varied only slightly, between 6.9 per 1,000 inhabitants (Bern) and 4.1 per 1,000 (Uri). The variations in this indicator result from departures from Switzerland or residence permits granted by the authorities in the context of the asylum procedure.

Between 2010 and 2014 the number of persons with an asylum procedure in progress increased in all cantons except Uri, where it remained unchanged. The highest increases in relative terms were seen in the cantons of Jura and Lucerne.

There is however considerable proportional variation at the level of municipalities, because an elevated number of asylum seekers is attributed to a reception center. Many municipalities had no individuals with an asylum procedure in progress among their population at the end of 2014, such as the municipalities of Gland (VD), Bagnes (VS) or Treyvaux (FR), even though all these municipalities have populations of more than 8,000 inhabitants. In contrast, in other municipalities, such as Schluein (GR) or Hohentannen (TG), one in ten inhabitants is an asylum seeker or person granted provisional admission.

Compare the proportional numbers of persons with an asylum procedure in progress with other European countries


N permit: asylum seeker

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

Permanent resident population: The population of Swiss and foreign nationals holding a residence permit with a duration of more than twelve months. Since 2011, the term “permanent resident population” has also included foreign nationals holding an F or N permit who have been in Switzerland for twelve months or more.

Non-permanent resident population: The population of foreign nationals holding a temporary residence permit who have been residing in Switzerland for less than one year.

Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, STATPOP statistics (2010–2014)

Note on the methodology: The proportional numbers of asylum seekers/persons granted provisional admission are calculated by dividing the number of persons with an N or F permit by the permanent and non-permanent resident populations. Asylum seekers are included in the permanent population only when they have been in Switzerland for one year. The figures given are taken from STATPOP demographic statistics, and may differ slightly from those published by the State Secretariat for Migration.

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