Saturday, April 30, 2016

7 facts about Switzerland’s illegal immigrants

There has been a great deal of talk about illegal immigrants lately but what is the situation like in Switzerland? Did you know there were 76,000 illegal immigrants or sans-papiers living in this country in 2015?

1. Most arrive undeclared or on tourist visas
Across the country, 63% slipped over the border without declaring their presence or entered on a tourist visa. In French and Italian-speaking Switzerland this percentage rose to 78%.
A further 19% stayed on illegally after their asylum applications had been rejected, and another 18% stayed after their B or C permits expired.

2. The largest percentage comes from latin America
43% came from south and central America, mainly for economic reasons. Ecuadorians, Bolivians and Peruvians were well all represented.
The next largest group (24%) came from eastern european countries outside the European Union, then Africa (19%) and Asia (11%). North America and Australia (2%) made up the rest.

3. The vast majority are single
68% were single or lived in Switzerland while their families lived abroad. The percentage of singles rose to 80% in German-speaking Switzerland and fell to 51% in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland.

4. Most stay less than 10 years
Only 19% had lived in Switzerland for more than 10 years. Most had been in the country for between 5 and 10 years (35%), 1 and 5 years (25%) or less than 1 year (21%).

5. Most work in private homes
Across Switzerland, 53% worked for private households. This percentage rose to 71% in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland, falling to 47% in German-speaking Switzerland.
Construction (18%), hotels (16%) and agriculture (5%) employed most of the others.

6. There are more women than men
51% were women. This fits with the high number working in private homes caring for children or helping out with household chores. The percentage who were women rose to 62% in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland, regions which also showed the highest rates of undocumented private domestic workers. The report says the broken school day in Switzerland, where children come home for lunch, is a likely driver of demand for child care workers.

7. Many are well educated
While the largest group had only school education (41%) a surprising number had professional training (37%) or a tertiary qualification (22%). Those in French and Italian-speaking Switzerland appeared to be the best educated. 84% had education beyond school. In German-speaking Switzerland only 49% did.

For the entire document "Les sans-papiers en Suisse en 2015" by the Secrétariat d’Etat aux migrations (SEM) click here:

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