Reasons for migration and future plans

What are the main reasons for immigration to Switzerland? Migration can be the result of many political, economic, social, cultural and climate-related factors that are often closely intertwined. Depending on the reason, immigration will affect the host society in different ways. The same is true for the plans that migrants might have for the future. How long do they plan to stay in Switzerland? Do they wish to return to their country of origin or do they plan to emigrate to another country? What are the main reasons migrants have for wanting to leave Switzerland?

Reasons for the last immigration

In 2022, 41% of the permanent resident population aged 15 or over and born abroad said that they migrated to Switzerland for family reasons. 37% said that they came for professional reasons. The next two most frequently cited reasons were asylum (6%) and studies (4%).

Plans for the length of the stay

In 2021, 63% of the permanent resident population aged 15 to 74 who were born abroad and immigrated to Switzerland said that they wanted to stay in Switzerland permanently. 9% planned to stay for at least five years, and only 2% intended to leave in less than five years. 25% were still undecided.

Return to country of origin or onward migration

In 2021, 59% of people aged 15 to 74 who were born abroad and intended to leave Switzerland would like to return to their country of origin. 20% planned to emigrate to another country. The remaining 20% were still undecided.

Reasons for leaving Switzerland

Among the population born abroad and wanting to leave Switzerland, retirement and family reasons are the most commonly cited reasons for wanting to leave, followed by professional reasons and homesickness.

Reasons for leaving Switzerland, 2021
 

%

CI

1. Retirement

23.3

3.2

2. Family reasons

20.5

3.4

3. Professional reasons

18.0

2.7

4. Homesickness

7.1

1.8

5. Studies

(2.3)

1.1

6. To see friends again

(2.1)

1.1

7. To buy a house/property

(0.4)

0.5

8. Other reasons

21.5

3.3

Source: FSO – Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS), Migration module

Further information

Tables

Methodologies

Reasons for last immigration: Proportion of the permanent resident population aged 15 or over (from 2021) or aged between 15 and 74 (in 2014 and 2017) born abroad who immigrated to Switzerland, by main reason for their latest migration:

- Professional reasons;
- Family reasons;
- Asylum;
- Studies;
- Other reasons.

Length of stay in Switzerland: Proportion of the permanent resident population aged between 15 and 74 born abroad who immigrated to Switzerland, by the length of their planned stay in Switzerland:

- Undecided (from 2021) or no plans (in 2014 and 2017);
- Less than 5 years;
- 5 years or more;
- For good.

Return to country of origin or onward migration: Proportion of the permanent resident population aged between 15 and 74 born abroad who migrated to Switzerland and intend to leave Switzerland, by next intended country of migration:

- Country of origin;
- Other country;
- Undecided (from 2021).

Reasons for leaving Switzerland: Proportion of the permanent resident population aged between 15 and 74 born abroad who immigrated to Switzerland and intend to leave Switzerland, by reason for wanting to leave:

- Family reasons;
- Professional reasons;
- Retirement;
- Homesickness;
- Studies;
- To see friends again;
- To buy a house/property;
- Other reasons.

Publications

Contact

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

Contact

Remark

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https://www.bfs.admin.ch/content/bfs/en/home/statistiken/bevoelkerung/migration-integration/internationale-wanderung/migrationsgruende.html