Conditions upon arrival

After their arrival in Switzerland, migrants are faced with their integration into working life. Not all migrants start under the same conditions and thus encounter different obstacles to accessing education and the labour market.

Education and requests for equivalence

19% of people aged between 15 and 74 with upper secondary qualifications were trained abroad.

Few people trained abroad make use of the possibility of having their foreign diploma recognised by Switzerland. 14% request equivalency and 83% do not. 2% provide no information about any such requests. 13% of people with upper secondary level and 15% of those with tertiary level make such a request.

About two thirds (68%) of those who made a request said that they had obtained the equivalency. The number of people that state they obtained an equivalence is greater among persons with tertiary education. However, this difference is not statistically significant. 72% of persons who did not request equivalency thought they did not need it to carry out their job and 7% thought that the procedure was too complicated, too expensive or too time-consuming. The remaining 21% cite other reasons.

Requests for equivalence, 2017
Request 14.5
Equivalence obtained
Equivalence not obtained 19.2
Being processed 12.6
No request
Equivalence not necessary
Process too complicated
Other reason
No indication 2.4
Source: FSO - SLFS, migration module


Within the first generation of the population with a migration background who came to Switzerland for professional reasons (self-reported), 68% had already found a job in this country before immigrating. 31% of people who came to Switzerland for the same reason had not found a job prior to arrival.

Language skills

Language skills have considerable influence on the type of activities that migrants can engage in, especially on the labour market but also in terms of their successful integration into society. A good command of one of Switzerland’s national languages can be seen as both an essential requirement and as the result of successful integration.

In 2014, the majority of the permanent resident population aged 15 to 74 who were born abroad had either mother tongue or advanced language skills in one of the official languages of their canton of residence (62%).

Further information



Language skills: Percentage of the permanent resident population aged 15 to 74 who were born abroad with oral language skills in one of the official languages of their canton of residence:

- Beginner or no oral language skills;

- Intermediate;

- Mother tongue or advanced.



Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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